Open Access

Timing of breast cancer surgery during the menstrual cycle‑is there an optimal time of the month? (Review)

  • Authors:
    • Sarah M. Bernhardt
    • Pallave Dasari
    • David Walsh
    • Amanda R. Townsend
    • Timothy J. Price
    • Wendy V. Ingman
  • View Affiliations

  • Published online on: June 24, 2020     https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2020.11771
  • Pages: 2045-2057
  • Copyright: © Bernhardt et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Abstract

An intriguing relationship between menstrual cycle phase at the time of breast cancer surgery and clinical outcomes was first proposed in the late 1980s. Despite a number of clinical studies conducted to address this, as well as meta‑analyses and systematic reviews, there remains significant controversy surrounding the effect of menstrual cycle phase at time of surgery on the prognosis of premenopausal breast cancer. While some studies have suggested that surgery performed during the luteal phase results in the most favourable outcome, other studies report the follicular phase is more favourable, and others show no association. Given the conflicting results, there remains insufficient evidence to determine whether there is an optimal time of the month to perform surgery. This issue has dogged breast cancer surgery for decades; knowledge of an optimal time of the month to conduct surgery would be a simple approach to improving patient outcomes. This review explores the potential biological mechanisms through which the hormonal milieu might contribute to differences in prognosis, and why clinical findings are so variable. It is concluded that a significant problem with current clinical research is the lack of insight from mechanistic studies. While there are a number of plausible biological mechanisms that could lead to altered survival, supporting evidence is limited. There are also variable approaches to defining the menstrual cycle phase and hormone receptor status of the tumour and few studies controlled for prognostic factors such as tumour size and stage, or addressed the impact of adjuvant treatments. Elucidation of the specific confounding factors, as well as biological mechanistic pathways that could explain the potential relationship between timing of surgery and survival, will greatly assist in designing robust well‑controlled prospective clinical studies to evaluate this paradigm.

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September-2020
Volume 20 Issue 3

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Online ISSN:1792-1082

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Spandidos Publications style
Bernhardt SM, Dasari P, Walsh D, Townsend AR, Price TJ and Ingman WV: Timing of breast cancer surgery during the menstrual cycle‑is there an optimal time of the month? (Review). Oncol Lett 20: 2045-2057, 2020
APA
Bernhardt, S.M., Dasari, P., Walsh, D., Townsend, A.R., Price, T.J., & Ingman, W.V. (2020). Timing of breast cancer surgery during the menstrual cycle‑is there an optimal time of the month? (Review). Oncology Letters, 20, 2045-2057. https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2020.11771
MLA
Bernhardt, S. M., Dasari, P., Walsh, D., Townsend, A. R., Price, T. J., Ingman, W. V."Timing of breast cancer surgery during the menstrual cycle‑is there an optimal time of the month? (Review)". Oncology Letters 20.3 (2020): 2045-2057.
Chicago
Bernhardt, S. M., Dasari, P., Walsh, D., Townsend, A. R., Price, T. J., Ingman, W. V."Timing of breast cancer surgery during the menstrual cycle‑is there an optimal time of the month? (Review)". Oncology Letters 20, no. 3 (2020): 2045-2057. https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2020.11771