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Cancer. 1996 Feb 1;77(3):490-8.

Male breast carcinoma: an evaluation of prognostic factors contributing to a poorer outcome.

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  • 1Department of Anatomic Pathology, Lahey Hitchcock Medical Center, Burlington, Massachusetts 01805, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although breast cancer in men is far less common than breast cancer in women, it is associated with a less favorable prognosis. Conventional histopathologic features and new prognostic markers were evaluated to explain the less favorable survival outcome.

METHODS:

Forty-six consecutive male breast carcinomas were studied for size, histologic and nuclear grade, histologic subtype, presence of carcinoma in situ, nipple involvement, lymphovascular invasion, hormone receptor status, c-erbB-2 protein overexpression, and p53 protein accumulation. These findings were correlated with survival.

RESULTS:

Of the 46 carcinomas, 4 were noninvasive and 42 were invasive. In the invasive carcinomas, the median patient age was 64 years, and the median tumor size was 2 cm. The predominant histologic patterns were invasive ductal (45%) and mixed invasive ductal and cribriform (28%). Most tumors were of low histologic and nuclear grades (histologic grades: I, 17%; II, 50%; III, 33%; nuclear grade: I, 12%; II, 44%; III, 44%). Of those surgically staged, 22 patients (60%) were lymph node positive and 15 patients (40%) were node negative. Stage at presentation was higher than in women (0, 10%; 1, 17%; 2, 50%; 3, 13%; 4, 10%). The estrogen and progesterone receptor status was positive in 76% and 83% of tumors, respectively. Lymphatic vessel invasion (63%) and nipple involvement (48%) were also more common than in women. True Paget's disease of the nipple was not seen; all cases with nipple ulceration were the result of direct tumor extension to the epidermis. Of the 17 tumors tested, 41% were c-erbB-2 positive and 29% were p53 positive. Survival analysis was limited by the relatively small cohort size. Five- and 10-year adjusted overall survival rates for invasive tumors were 76 +/- 7% and 42 +/- 9%, respectively. Skin and nipple involvement (P = 0.03) and c-erbB-2-positivity (P = 0.03) were significant predictors of adverse survival.

CONCLUSIONS:

Male breast carcinoma presents in an advanced stage with less favorable survival, despite low histologic grade, high estrogen receptor content, and small size. Anatomic factors may have been responsible for the poor survival outcome (i.e., paucity of breast tissue and close tumor proximity to skin and nipple, facilitating dermal lymphatic spread and early regional and distant metastasis).

PMID:
8630956
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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