The Economic Burden of Recurrence in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Among Working Age Patients in the United States

Advances in Therapy, 2022


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is associated with a high recurrence risk. However, the magnitude of direct and indirect costs associated with recurrence is lacking in the literature.


Adults 18-65 years old diagnosed with TNBC were identified from the OptumHealth Reporting and Insights claims database (1999-2017) and stratified by recurrence. For patients with recurrence, the index date was defined as 30 days before recurrence; for patients without recurrence, it was randomly assigned based on the distribution of time between first treatments and index dates of the recurrence cohort. All-cause and breast cancer-related healthcare resource utilization (HRU), direct and indirect costs, and work loss up to 1 year were compared between cohorts using generalized linear models. Kaplan-Meier analyses and Cox proportional hazards models compared the risk of leaving the workforce.


Among the 2340 patients analyzed, mean age was 54 years and > 75% of patients had stage 0-2 cancer. Among the 1170 patients with recurrence, 236 were categorized as having metastatic recurrence and 934 as having locoregional recurrence. Relative to patients without recurrence, those with recurrence had significantly higher all-cause and breast cancer-related HRU. For instance, adjusted incidence rates (IRs) for all-cause inpatient admissions were 3.67 and 10.19 times higher for patients with locoregional and metastatic recurrence, respectively (p < 0.001). Adjusted all-cause healthcare costs were $8575/month higher for metastatic recurrence and $3609/month higher for locoregional recurrence vs. patients without recurrence (p < 0.001). Adjusted IRs for work loss days were approximately two times higher for locoregional and metastatic recurrence vs. without recurrence (p < 0.001). Patients with locoregional recurrence incurred $335/month more indirect costs vs. patients without recurrence; those with metastatic recurrence incurred $769/month more (p < 0.05). Patients with recurrence had a 63% higher rate of leaving the work force (p = 0.003).


The incremental direct and indirect economic burden associated with recurrent TNBC is substantial relative to non-recurrence.

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Sieluk J, Song Y, Freimark J, Huang M, Haiderali A, Berman R, Wang T, Signorovitch J, Hirshfield KM