Open Access Short Report

Breast cancer in moroccan young women: a retrospective study

Halima Abahssain1*, Issam Lalya2, Fatima zahra EL M'Rabet3, Nabil Ismaili1*, Rachid Razine4, Mohammed Adnane Tazi5, Hind M'rabti1, Omar El Mesbahi3, Nourddine Benjaafar2, Redouane Abouqal4 and Hassan Errihani1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of medical oncology, National Institute of Oncology, Rabat, Morocco

2 Department of radiotherapy, National Institute of Oncology, Rabat, Morocco

3 Department of Medical Oncology, Hassan II University Hospital, Fez, Morocco

4 Laboratory of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Rabat, Morocco

5 Epidemiology Unit, National institute of oncology, Rabat, Morocco

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:286  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-286

Published: 8 November 2010



Breast cancer is uncommon in young women and induces more aggressive biologic characteristics. Survival in young women has been widely studied in developed countries. Less favorable prognosis and low survival were found.

In Morocco, this study is the first investigation of clinical features, treatment and prognosis associated with breast cancer in young women.


Four hundred and nine women aged 35 years or less were included in this study. All these women were diagnosed as having breast cancer at the National Institute of Oncology in Rabat, Morocco between 2003 and 2007. The relation between clinical and therapeutic characteristics and event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) were assessed by Cox regression analysis.

The median age of the patients was 32 years. Fifty three patients (13%) have metastatic disease at diagnosis and 356 patients (87%) had localised disease. In 57.9% of the cases, the estrogen receptors status was positive. The median follow-up was 32.2 months. After 3 years the survival rate was 80.6%. In the case of localised disease, OS and EFS at 3 years were 83.2% and 62.5%, respectively. OS and EFS at 3 years was higher in patients with stage I than patients with stage II and stage III (p = 0.001). Positive estrogen receptors was significantly associated to OS and EFS at 3 years compared to negative estrogen receptors (p = 0.001). Adjuvant chemotherapy, adjuvant radiotherapy and adjuvant hormone therapy were associated with net benefit in OS and EFS at 3 years. Cox regression analysis showed that negative ER was significantly associated with poorer OS (HR = 2.42, 95% CI = 1.25 - 4.66, p < 0.009) and poorer EFS (HR = 1.73, 95%CI = 1.05 - 2.86, p = 0.03). Stage III disease were associated to poorer EFS (HR = 5.35, 95%CI = 1.60 -17.84, p = 0.006).


In Morocco, young women with breast cancer had less favorable prognosis. Multivariate analysis showed that negative hormone receptor status was associated with lower EFS and OS. Clinical trials should be launched to improve the survival of these young women with breast cancer.