Postpartum breast cancer has a distinct molecular profile that predicts poor outcomes

Sonali Jindal, Nathan D. Pennock, Duanchen Sun, Wesley Horton, Michelle K. Ozaki, Jayasri Narasimhan, Alexandra Q. Bartlett, Sheila Weinmann, Paul E. Goss, Virginia F. Borges, Zheng Xia, Pepper Schedin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Young women’s breast cancer (YWBC) has poor prognosis and known interactions with parity. Women diagnosed within 5–10 years of childbirth, defined as postpartum breast cancer (PPBC), have poorer prognosis compared to age, stage, and biologic subtype-matched nulliparous patients. Genomic differences that explain this poor prognosis remain unknown. In this study, using RNA expression data from clinically matched estrogen receptor positive (ER+) cases (n = 16), we observe that ER+ YWBC can be differentiated based on a postpartum or nulliparous diagnosis. The gene expression signatures of PPBC are consistent with increased cell cycle, T-cell activation and reduced estrogen receptor and TP53 signaling. When applied to a large YWBC cohort, these signatures for ER+ PPBC associate with significantly reduced 15-year survival rates in high compared to low expressing cases. Cumulatively these results provide evidence that PPBC is a unique entity within YWBC with poor prognostic phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6341
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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