Comparison with 2019 of breast surgery activity and breast cancer prognostic factors in a French cancer center during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic

Author(s): Navid Mokarram Dorri, Monique Cohen, Sophie Knight, Laura Sabiani, Julien Barrou, Sandrine Rua, Camille Jauffret, Guillaume Blache, Eric Lambaudie, Marie Bannier, Gilles Houvenaeghel


The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic left departments of surgery, especially in oncology unprepared. The diagnostic and therapeutic management of breast cancer in Paoli Calmettes Institute cancer center underwent a major reorganization.


This study aimed to describe whether there was a change in the rate of surgical activity and type of tumors treated since the beginning of the outbreak (year 2020 was divided into 3 periods: before March the 17th = P1, between March the 17th and May the 11th = P2, from May the 11th to July 31st = P3) and compared to 2019.


Over the three periods, a 12.71% decrease in the overall breast cancer surgery activity (n = 967 vs 1062) and a 18.05% decrease in new breast cancer surgery (n = 709 vs 581) was observed. The second period (P2) was the most critical one in both situations. During P2 a higher rate of large tumors, grade SBR 3 and negative endocrine receptor tumors were observed, there was also fewer Luminal A-like histological type diagnosed , during P3 fewer cT0 tumors and finally during both P2 and P3 there was a higher rate of neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.


This challenging period led to the diagnosis of higher stage and more aggressive histological types of breast cancers subsequently leading to more aggressive treatments.

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