Cancer registry data in the USA indicated that women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 40 were at increased risk of a new primary tumour within the brain and women aged 50 years or above were at lower risk than expected. Our aim was to investigate if similar results could be found in Danish population-based data, considering an explanatory role of hormonal status.
Our study cohort included all women diagnosed with breast cancer below the age of 60 between 1978 and 2013 in Denmark. A total of 47,920 women were followed up in the Danish Cancer Registry for primary brain cancer. Standardized incidence ratios (observed/expected cases (O/E)) were used to estimate the risk of getting a primary brain tumour in the breast cancer cohort.
Data indicated an increased tendency of brain cancer following breast cancer at ages below 60 years (O/E = 1.24). For premenopausal women (age <49 at the diagnosis of breast cancer) the O/E was 1.25. Stratifying by time of breast cancer diagnosis, we observed an increased risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumour among women aged 49 years or younger at breast cancer diagnosis between 2004 and 2013.
The results indicate an increased tendency of developing a primary brain tumour in women with previous breast cancer history. Whereas the finding in premenopausal women is in line with the SEER data, the finding among postmenopausal is not. Primary brain tumours in breast cancer patients call for research in genetics and hormones to establish common risk factors.