A new study has reported that patients with hormone receptor positive lobular breast cancer appear possibly to benefit less from chemotherapy compared to patients with ductal breast cancer. To conduct the study, the authors identified patients with non-metastatic hormone receptor positive (ER+/PR+) invasive lobular and invasive ductal breast cancer who underwent surgery for breast cancer between 1986 and 2007. The study included 498 patients with lobular and 1,617 with ductal breast cancer. The patients were further divided according to whether they were given hormonal treatment (such as aromatase inhibitors or tamoxifen) and whether they received chemotherapy.

Five-year overall survival was not found to be statistically different in lobular breast cancer patients treated with both hormonal therapy and chemotherapy (85.2%) compared to lobular patients treated with hormonal therapy alone (82.8%). On the other hand, ductal breast cancer patients who received both hormonal treatment and chemotherapy had a significantly better overall survival (87.6%) compared to those who were treated with hormonal therapy alone (80.8%). However, this significance disappeared when more variables known to influence breast cancer prognosis was included in the analysis, suggesting that the sample size was possibly too small, too unbalanced, or influenced by other risk factors to come to definitive conclusions. The authors conclude that there are good reasons to consider ductal and lobular breast cancers as different entities in future studies.

Please see our article on the latest research concerning lobular breast cancer prognosis for more information.