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Eur J Cancer. 1997 Jan;33(1):35-8.

Ductal carcinoma in situ of the male breast. Analysis of 31 cases.

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  • 1Centre Paul Strauss, Strasbourg, France.


From 1970 to 1992, 31 pure ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the male breast treated in 19 French Regional Cancer Centres were reviewed. They represent 5% of all breast cancers treated in men in the same period. The median age was 58 years, but 6 patients were younger than 40 years. TNM classification (UICC, 1978) showed 12 T0 (discovered only by bloody nipple discharge), 10 T1, 5 T2 and four unclassified tumours (Tx). 11 patients (35.5%) had clinical gynecomastia, and three (10%) had a family history of breast cancer. 6 patients underwent lumpectomy, and 25 mastectomy. Axillary dissection was performed in 19 cases. 6 cases received postoperative irradiation. 15 out of 31 lesions were of the papillary subtype, pure or associated with a cribriform component. The size of the 12 measured lesions varied from 3 to 45 mm. All lymph nodes sampled were negative. With a median follow-up of 83 months, 4 patients (13%) presented a local relapse (LR), respectively, at 12, 27, 36 and 55 months. 3 of these patients had been initially treated by lumpectomy. In one case LR was still in situ, but already infiltrating in the 3 others. Radical salvage surgery was performed in 3 cases, but one patient developed metastases and died 30 months later. The last patient was treated by multiple local excisions and tamoxifen. One 43-year-old patient developed a contralateral DCIS and three others developed a metachronous cancer. The aetiology and risk factors of male breast cancer remain unknown. Gynecomastia, which implies an imbalance between androgen and oestrogen, may be a predisposing factor. As in women, DCIS in the male breast has a good prognosis. Total mastectomy without axillary dissection is the basic treatment. Frequently, the first symptom is a bloody nipple discharge. The age of occurrence is younger than for infiltrating carcinoma, suggesting that DCIS is the first step in the development of breast cancer.

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