Elevated biomarkers of inflammation are associated with reduced survival among breast cancer patients.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Volume 27, Issue 21, p.3437-44 (2009)


2009, Adult, Biological Markers, Breast Neoplasms, C-Reactive Protein, Center-Authored Paper, Disease-Free Survival, Female, Humans, INFLAMMATION, Middle Aged, Nutrition Assessment Core Facility, Prevention Center Core Facility, Prognosis, Public Health Sciences Division, Risk Assessment, Serum Amyloid A Protein, Shared Resources, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult


PURPOSE Chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to the development and progression of breast cancer. Systemic C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA) are measures of low-grade chronic inflammation and potential predictors of cancer survival. PATIENTS AND METHODS We evaluated the relationship between circulating markers of inflammation and breast cancer survival using data from the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study (a multiethnic prospective cohort study of women diagnosed with stage 0 to IIIA breast cancer). Circulating concentrations of CRP and SAA were measured approximately 31 months after diagnosis and tested for associations with disease-free survival (approximately 4.1 years of follow-up) and overall survival (approximately 6.9 years of follow-up) in 734 disease-free breast cancer survivors. Cox proportional hazards models were used with adjustment for potential confounding factors to generate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs. Results Elevated SAA and CRP were associated with reduced overall survival, regardless of adjustment for age, tumor stage, race, and body mass index (SAA P trend < .0001; CRP P trend = .002). The HRs for SAA and CRP tertiles suggested a threshold effect on survival, rather than a dose-response relationship (highest v lowest tertile: SAA HR = 3.15; 95% CI, 1.73 to 5.65; CRP HR = 2.27; 95% CI, 1.27 to 4.08). Associations were similar and still significant after adjusting for self-reported history of cardiovascular events and censoring cardiovascular disease deaths. Elevated CRP and SAA were also associated with reduced disease-free survival, although these associations were of borderline significance (SAA P trend = .04; CRP P trend = .07). CONCLUSION Circulating SAA and CRP may be important prognostic markers for long-term survival in breast cancer patients, independent of race, tumor stage, and body mass index.