Below we summarize data published during the last three years concerning survival and risk of recurrence of women with early-stage hormone receptor positive (ER+/PR+) breast cancer. However, please note that outcomes can vary depending on numerous factors. Also, the data represents snapshots from studies that were conducted using different populations under a variety of circumstances.
Furthermore, most studies that calculate survival do not present the results as simple percentages. Therefore, the numbers below are somewhat inconsistent and far from complete or definitive and should not be used to calculate your likely recurrence-free survival. However, the statistics are useful in getting a general idea of ER+/PR+ breast cancer prognosis and to compare outcomes depending on treatment and other factors.

Definition of recurrence & survival terms

Progression-free survival means that no recurrence, metastasis or breast cancer-related death took place during the specified period. Distant recurrence-free survival means there were no distant metastases and no breast cancer-related death occurred, however local recurrences (in the same breast, lymph nodes or chest wall) might have been found. Overall survival means no death occurred from any cause (including non-breast cancer-specific causes).

ER+/PR+ breast cancer recurrence & survival data

Patient and treatment characteristics → Likelihood of outcome
Overall survival after diagnosis of ER+ breast cancer
  • Five-year overall progression-free survival
    • ER+/PR+ Five-year progression-free survival → 90%
  • Twenty-year overall survival
    • ER+ Twenty-year overall survival → 78%
Degree of pathologic response after neoadjuvant chemotherapy
  • Survival based on residual tumor burden
    • ER+/PR+/HER2- Pathologic complete response or minimal residual cancer burden (RCB-I) after neoadjuvant treatment → 91% to 93% five-year progression-free survival
    • ER+/PR+/HER2- Moderate residual cancer burden (RCB-II) → 82% five-year progression-free survival
    • ER+/PR+/HER2- Extensive residual cancer burden (RCB-III) → 70% five-year progression-free survival
Breast cancer characteristics
  • Survival of stage II ER+/PR+ disease based on proliferation
    • ER+/PR+/HER2- Stage II, low Ki-67 (< 10%) → 84% five-year progression-free survival
    • ER+/PR+/HER2- Stage II, intermediate Ki-67 (10% to 19%) → 88% five-year progression-free survival
    • ER+/PR+/HER2- Stage II, high Ki-67 (≥ 20%) → 79% five-year progression-free survival
  • Survival based on risk (Dutch criteria), no positive lymph nodes
    • ER+/PR+/HER2- Node-negative, low-risk (age > 35, low grade, small tumor size) → 99.6% five-year progression-free survival
    • ER+/PR+/HER2- Node-negative, low-risk, no chemotherapy → 99.6% five-year progression-free survival
    • ER+/PR+/HER2- Node-negative, low-risk, received adjuvant chemotherapy → 99.5% five-year progression-free survival
    • ER+/PR+/HER2- Node-negative, high-risk → 98.2% five-year progression-free survival
  • Survival based on grade
    • ER+ Stage T1N0, grade 1 (low grade disease), 5 years of aromatase inhibitor and/or tamoxifen → 90% distant recurrence-free survival through year 20
    • ER+ Stage T1N0, grade 2 (moderate grade), 5 years of aromatase inhibitor and/or tamoxifen → 87% distant recurrence-free survival through year 20
    • ER+ Stage T1N0, grade 3 (high grade), 5 years of aromatase inhibitor and/or tamoxifen → 83% distant recurrence-free survival through year 20
Extended aromatase inhibitor treatment
Note: Extended adjuvant therapy is recommended only for high-risk ER+ since increased arthralgia, myalgia, hot flushes and bone toxicity are linked to extended AI use.
  • Tamoxifen followed by Arimidex (anastrozole)
    • ER+ 2-3 years of tamoxifen followed by 3 years of Arimidex → 79% five-year progression-free survival
    • ER+ 2-3 years of tamoxifen followed by 6 years of Arimidex → 83% five-year progression-free survival
  • Arimidex (anastrozole) only
    • ER+ 5 years of Arimidex → 84% five-year progression-free survival
    • ER+ 10 years of Arimidex → 92% five-year progression-free survival
  • Endocrine treatment followed by Femara (letrozole)
    • ER+/PR+ Disease-free after 5 years of aromatase inhibitor and/or tamoxifen, no additional treatment → 81% seven-year progression-free survival
    • ER+/PR+ Disease-free after 5 years of aromatase inhibitor and/or tamoxifen, 5 additional years of Femara → 85% seven-year progression-free survival
Late recurrence after early stage breast cancer diagnosis
  • Risk of breast cancer-specific death after having survived 5 years
    • ER+/PR+ stage T1/T2 N0 → 90% no breast cancer-specific death during years 5-20
    • ER+/PR+ stage T1/T2 N1 → 78% no breast cancer-specific death during years 5-20
    • ER+/PR+ stage T1/T2 N2 → 62% no breast cancer-specific death during years 5-20
Below are links to recent studies on this topic. Please also see our article on ER+/PR+ prognosis, which describes factors that drive outcomes in this type of breast cancer.