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J Med Genet. 2001 Mar;38(3):159-64.

Male breast cancer in Cowden syndrome patients with germline PTEN mutations.

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  • 1Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Cowden syndrome (CS) (OMIM 158350) is a multiple hamartoma syndrome associated with germline mutations in the PTEN tumour suppressor gene. While CS is characterised most commonly by non-cancerous lesions (mucocutaneous trichilemmomas, acral and palmoplantar keratoses, and papillomatous papules), it is also associated with an increased susceptibility to breast cancer (in females) and thyroid cancer, as well as non-cancerous conditions of the breast and thyroid. Here we report two cases of male breast cancer occurring in patients with classical CS phenotypes and germline PTEN mutations. The first subject was diagnosed with CS indicated primarily by mucocutaneous papillomatosis, facial trichilemmomas, and macrocephaly with frontal bossing at the age of 31 years. He developed breast cancer at 41 years and subsequently died of the disease. A PTEN mutation, c.802delG, was identified in this subject, yet none of his family members showed evidence of a CS phenotype, suggesting that this PTEN mutation may be a de novo occurrence. The second subject had a CS phenotype including multiple trichilemmomas and thyroid adenoma, developed male breast cancer at 43 years, and died of the disease at 57 years. He was a carrier of a PTEN mutation c.347-351delACAAT that cosegregated with the CS phenotype in affected family members. These two cases of male breast cancer associated with germline PTEN mutations and the CS phenotype suggest that CS may be associated with an increased risk of early onset male as well as female breast cancer.

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