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Breast. 2018 Apr;38:132-135. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2018.01.001. Epub 2018 Jan 6.

The biology of male breast cancer.

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Research Oncology, 3rd Floor Bermondsey Wing, Guy's Hospital, London SE1 9RT, UK. Electronic address:


Important differences have begun to emerge concerning the molecular profile of female and male breast cancer which may prove to be of therapeutic value. This review examined all the available data on the genomics of MBC. Most male cancers are ER+ve but without a corresponding increase in PR positivity and only a weaker association with estrogen-controlled markers such as PS2, HSP27 and Cathepsin-D. HER2 +ve cancers are rare in males and the role of androgen receptor is controversial. Although the Luminal A phenotype was the most frequent in both MBC and FBC, no Luminal B or HER2 phenotypes were found in males and the basal phenotype was very rare. Using hierarchical clustering in FBC, ERα clustered with PR, whereas in MBC, ERα associated with ERβ and AR. Based on limited data it appears that Oncotype DX is effective in determining recurrence risk in selected MBC. In future, tailored therapies based on genomics will probably yield the most promising approach for both MBC and FBC.


AR; ER; Epigenetics; Genetics; HER2; Male breast cancer; Molecular profile; Prognosis

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