Background: The TNM system, which reflects the anatomical extent of disease, was used for stage definition. In the recently published AJCC 8th edition, the new staging system of the clinical and pathological prognostic stage, which incorporates biological factors, is introduced. Patients and methods: A total of 2622 patients with primary breast cancer at stage I–III were included in this study. The anatomic stage (aStage) and the pathological prognostic stage (ppStage) for each case were determined according to the definition of the AJCC 8th edition, and the influence of these stages on the prognosis was compared. Results: The stage distributions of aStage and ppStage were as follows: aStage, stage IA (54.8%), IB (1.1%), IIA (26.1%), IIB (9.2%), IIIA (5.6%), IIIB (0.1%), and IIIC (3.1%); and ppStage, stage IA (66.6%), IB (13.1%), IIA (11.1%), IIB (3.2%), IIIA (3.3%), IIIB (1.4%), and IIIC (1.2%). Compared with the aStage, the ppStage stayed the same in 1710 patients (65.2%), was downstaged in 778 patients (29.7%), and was upstaged in 134 patients. The pathological tumor size (pT2) and lymph node metastasis (pN1) were associated with downstaging, and histological grade 3 was associated with upstaging. ER positivity, PgR positivity, and HER2-positivity were significantly associated with downstaging, and the TN subtype was associated with upstaging. Both the aStage and ppStage were significantly associated with the prognosis; however, the Kaplan–Meier curves for the relapse-free survival (RFS), distant recurrence-free survival (DRFS), and overall survival were better stratified by the ppStage. Conclusion: The ppStage reflects the prognosis of patients with early breast cancer more accurately than the aStage.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Pharmacology (medical)