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World J Surg Oncol. 2013 Apr 22;11:91. doi: 10.1186/1477-7819-11-91.

Clinicopathologic characteristics at diagnosis and the survival of patients with medullary breast carcinoma in China: a comparison with infiltrating ductal carcinoma-not otherwise specified.

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  • 1Breast Cancer Institute, Cancer Centre/Cancer Institute, Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, 270 Dong'an Road, Shanghai 200032, People's Republic of China.



Few studies have addressed the biological features of medullary breast carcinoma (MBC) in the context of clinical outcomes. We sought to compare the baseline demographics, standard pathologic factors and long-term clinical outcomes between MBC and infiltrating ductal carcinoma-not otherwise specified (IDC-NOS) using a large database.


A total of 2,202 cases with pure IDC-NOS and 188 cases with typical MBC meeting the inclusion criteria were identified. The clinical and biological features, the overall survival (OS) and recurrence/metastasis-free survival (RFS) were compared for both groups.


There were a higher proportion of patients diagnosed prior to 40 years of age in the MBC group compared to the IDC-NOS group. MBC cases demonstrated less aggressive tumor features such as lower tumor stage, smaller tumor size and a lower proportion of nodal involvement than IDC-NOS; however, immunohistochemical staining revealed that MBC displayed the triple-negative phenotype more often than IDC-NOS cases (40.4% versus 26.2%; P <0.001). Although the clinical behavior of MBC was not commensurate with its pathologic features, women diagnosed with MBC had a lower frequency of recurrence/metastasis (P = 0.032) and death (P = 0.042) than those with IDC-NOS, and the 10-year OS and RFS were significantly higher for MBC (91% and 74%) compared to IDC-NOS (81% and 64%). Moreover, multivariate analysis revealed that TNM stage was a statistically significant factor for survival.


MBC in Chinese women demonstrated less aggressive behavior and better prognosis than IDC-NOS. This favorable outcome was maintained after 10 years.

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