Diagnostic delay of breast cancer related to the false-negative assessment of the healthcare provider leads to tumor progression and might worsen the outcome. Previous studies found some factors associated with provider-related diagnostic delay; however, tumor biology has tended not to be considered. The aim of our study was to find differences in diagnostic delay of poorly differentiated breast cancer types.
Data of 970 patients with newly diagnosed moderately/poorly differentiated (G2/3) breast cancer at the age ≥40 years was retrospectively analyzed regarding breast cancer type, diagnostic delay and its consequence, clinical factors and physician’s assessment. Multivariate analysis was used to evaluate associated factors with diagnostic delay.
We observed a diagnostic delay in 3.8% (n = 37) of all patients. Mean delay time was 128 days, and clinically relevant tumor growth was observed in 43.2% of these cases. Delay was significantly higher in the group of triple-negative breast cancer (9.9% versus 2.7, 5.3 and 1.8% in hormonal receptor (HR)+/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)−, HR−/Her2+ and HR+/Her2+, respectively; P value <0.001). Age, breast density and reason for presentation were not correlated to diagnostic delay.
Patients with triple-negative breast cancer are at higher risk of receiving a false-negative assessment and experiencing a diagnostic delay. Our results emphasize the importance of a detailed consideration of clinical risk factors and provider training and suggest a broad indication for a core needle biopsy.