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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Jun;18(6):1807-14. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-0096.

Molecular subtypes of breast cancer emerging in young women in Taiwan: evidence for more than just westernization as a reason for the disease in Asia.

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1
Department of Oncology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In the past two decades, the incidence of breast cancer in young Taiwanese females has been rapidly increasing, approaching the risk level of western countries. As a first step to investigate the possible etiology, we examined the molecular subtypes of female breast cancer in Taiwan.

METHODS:

This study included 1,028 consecutive patients with breast cancer diagnosed in National Taiwan University Hospital between 2004 and 2006. Estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), human epidermal growth factor receptor-2, cytokeratin 5/6, and epidermal growth factor receptor expression and/or gene amplification were analyzed.

RESULTS:

Younger (<or=50 years) breast cancer patients had a higher prevalence of luminal A (67% versus 57%; P < 0.001) and a lower prevalence of basal-like subtype (9% versus 17%; P < 0.001) compared with older (>50 years) patients. The higher prevalence of luminal A subtype was mainly attributed to a higher ER (75% versus 63%; P < 0.001) and PR (47% versus 33%; P < 0.001) expression rate in younger patients than older patients. Tumors with histologic grade 3 were less prevalent in younger patients than in older patients (23% versus 30%; P = 0.01). For very young (<35 years) patients, the molecular subtype distribution, ER and/or PR expression rate, and histologic grade were not significantly different from those of less young (35-50 years) patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

Young breast cancer patients in Taiwan are characterized by a high prevalence of luminal A subtype and low prevalence of histologic grade 3 tumor and/or basal-like subtype. These features are distinct from young breast cancer patients in western countries.

PMID:
19505913
DOI:
10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-0096
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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