Gestational breast cancer in New South Wales: A population-based linkage study of incidence, management, and outcomes

Nadom Safi, Christobel Saunders, Andrew Hayen, Antoinette Anazodo, Kei Lui, Zhuoyang Li, Marc Remond, Michael Nicholl, Alex Y Wang, Elizabeth Sullivan
PloS One 2021, 16 (1): e0245493

BACKGROUND: The incidence of gestational breast cancer (GBC) is increasing in high-income countries. Our study aimed to examine the epidemiology, management and outcomes of women with GBC in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study using linked data from three NSW datasets. The study group comprised women giving birth with a first-time diagnosis of GBC while the comparison group comprised women giving birth without any type of cancer. Outcome measures included incidence of GBC, maternal morbidities, obstetric management, neonatal mortality, and preterm birth.

RESULTS: Between 1994 and 2013, 122 women with GBC gave birth in NSW (crude incidence 6.8/ 100,000, 95%CI: 5.6-8.0). Women aged ≥35 years had higher odds of GBC (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 6.09, 95%CI 4.02-9.2) than younger women. Women with GBC were more likely to give birth by labour induction or pre-labour CS compared to women with no cancer (AOR 4.8, 95%CI: 2.96-7.79). Among women who gave birth by labour induction or pre-labour CS, the preterm birth rate was higher for women with GBC than for women with no cancer (52% vs 7%; AOR 17.5, 95%CI: 11.3-27.3). However, among women with GBC, preterm birth rate did not differ significantly by timing of diagnosis or cancer stage. Babies born to women with GBC were more likely to be preterm (AOR 12.93, 95%CI 8.97-18.64), low birthweight (AOR 8.88, 95%CI 5.87-13.43) or admitted to higher care (AOR 3.99, 95%CI 2.76-5.76) than babies born to women with no cancer.

CONCLUSION: Women aged ≥35 years are at increased risk of GBC. There is a high rate of preterm birth among women with GBC, which is not associated with timing of diagnosis or cancer stage. Most births followed induction of labour or pre-labour CS, with no major short term neonatal morbidity.

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