News Release

Cancer stage and receptor status indicate a breast cancer survivor’s risk of recurrence

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Study’s findings may lead to more personalized follow-up care for patients.

New research indicates that for patients with breast cancer, the cancer’s stage and receptor status can help clinicians predict whether and when cancer might recur after initial treatment. The findings are published by Wiley online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

For the study, Heather Neuman, MD, MS, of the University of Wisconsin, and her colleagues analyzed data on 8,007 patients with stage I–III breast cancer who participated in nine clinical trials from 1997–2013 and received standard of care therapy.

Time to first cancer recurrence varied significantly between cancers with different receptors—including estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Within each receptor type, cancer stage influenced time to recurrence.

Risk of recurrence was highest and occurred earliest for ER−/PR−/HER2− (triple negative) tumors. Patients with these tumors diagnosed at stage III had a 5-year probability of recurrence of 45.5%. Risk of recurrence was lowest for ER+/PR+/HER2+ (triple positive) tumors. Patients with these tumors diagnosed at stage III had a 5-year probability of recurrence of 15.3%.

Based on their findings, the investigators developed follow-up recommendations by cancer stage and receptor type. For example, patients with the lowest risk should be seen by their oncology team once annually over five years, whereas those with the highest risk should be seen once every three months over five years.

“Our developed follow-up guidelines present an opportunity to personalize how we deliver breast cancer follow-up care,” said Dr. Neuman. “By tailoring follow-up based on risk, we have the potential to have a strong, positive impact on both survivors and their oncology providers by improving the quality and efficiency of care.”


Additional information
NOTE: The information contained in this release is protected by copyright. Please include journal attribution in all coverage. A free abstract of this article will be available via the CANCER Newsroom upon online publication. For more information or to obtain a PDF of any study, please contact: Sara Henning-Stout, 


Full Citation:
“The influence of anatomic stage and receptor status on first recurrence for breast cancer within five years (AFT-01).” Heather B. Neuman, Jessica R. Schumacher, Stephen B. Edge, Kathryn J. Ruddy, Ann H. Partridge, Menggang Yu, David J. Vanness, Bret M. Hanlon, Jennifer G. Le-Rademacher, Dou-Yan Yang, Jeffrey Havlena, Carrie A. Strand, and Caprice C. Greenberg. CANCER; Published Online: March 6, 2023 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.34656). 

URL Upon Publication:  

Author Contact: Sara Benzel, media relations manager at UW Health, at


About the Journal     
CANCERis a peer-reviewed publication of the American Cancer Society integrating scientific information from worldwide sources for all oncologic specialties. The objective of CANCER is to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of information among oncologic disciplines concerned with the etiology, course, and treatment of human cancer. CANCER is published on behalf of the American Cancer Society by Wiley and can be accessed online. Follow us on Twitter @JournalCancer.


About Wiley
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