Multiple neoplasms, single primaries, and patient survival
Magid H Amer
Department of Medicine, St Rita's Medical Center, Lima, OH, USA
Background: Multiple primary neoplasms in surviving cancer patients are relatively common, with an increasing incidence. Their impact on survival has not been clearly defined.
Methods: This was a retrospective review of clinical data for all consecutive patients with histologically confirmed cancer, with emphasis on single versus multiple primary neoplasms. Second primaries discovered at the workup of the index (first) primary were termed simultaneous, if discovered within 6 months of the index primary were called synchronous, and if discovered after 6 months were termed metachronous.
Results: Between 2005 and 2012, of 1,873 cancer patients, 322 developed second malignancies; these included two primaries (n=284), and three or more primaries (n=38). Forty-seven patients had synchronous primaries and 275 had metachronous primaries. Patients with multiple primaries were predominantly of Caucasian ancestry (91.0%), with a tendency to develop thrombosis (20.2%), had a strong family history of similar cancer (22.3%), and usually presented with earlier stage 0 through stage II disease (78.9%). When compared with 1,551 patients with a single primary, these figures were 8.9%, 15.6%, 18.3%, and 50.9%, respectively (P≤0.001). Five-year survival rates were higher for metachronous cancers (95%) than for synchronous primaries (59%) and single primaries (59%). The worst survival rate was for simultaneous concomitant multiple primaries, being a median of 1.9 years. The best survival was for patients with three or more primaries (median 10.9 years) and was similar to the expected survival for the age-matched and sex-matched general population (P=0.06991).
Conclusion: Patients with multiple primaries are usually of Caucasian ancestry, have less aggressive malignancies, present at earlier stages, frequently have a strong family history of similar cancer, and their cancers tend to have indolent clinical behavior with longer survival rates, possibly related to genetic predisposition.
Keywords: genetic susceptibility, incidence study, hereditary, multiple primary neoplasms, survival analysis, prognosis
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