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Age-specific differences in tumour characteristics between screen-detected and non-screen-detected breast cancers in women aged 40-74 at diagnosis in Sweden from 2008 to 2017.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze differences between screen-detected and non-screen-detected invasive breast cancers by tumour characteristics and age at diagnosis in the nationwide population-based mammography screening program in Sweden.

METHODS: Data were retrieved from the National Quality Register for Breast Cancer for 2008-2017. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the likelihood for a tumour to be screen-detected by tumour characteristics and age group at diagnosis.

RESULTS: In total there were 51,429 invasive breast cancers in the target age group for mammography screening of 40-74 years. Likelihood of screen detection decreased with larger tumour size, lymph node metastases, higher histological grade and distant metastasis. Odds ratios (ORs) for negative oestrogen (ER) and progesterone (PgR) were 0.41 and 0.57; for positive HER2, 0.62; for Ki-67 high versus low, 0.49. Molecular sub-types had OR of 0.56, 0.40 and 0.28, respectively, for luminal B-like, HER2-positive and triple negative versus luminal A-like. Adjusting for tumour size (T), lymph node status (N), age, year and county at diagnosis slightly elevated the ORs. Statistically significant interactions between tumour characteristics and age were found ( p  < 0.05) except for ER and PgR. The age group 40-49 deviated most from the other age groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates that screen-detected invasive breast cancers had more favourable tumour characteristics than non-screen-detected after adjusting for age, year and county of diagnosis, and even after adjusting for T and N. The trend towards favourable tumour characteristics was less pronounced in the 40-49 age group compared to the other age groups, except for ER and PgR.

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