Background: Male breast carcinoma is rare; therefore, the effect of family history on the course of the disease has not been well described. Germ-line mutations in breast carcinoma susceptibility genes, particularly BRCA2, are associated with an increased risk of male breast carcinoma. The authors sought to correlate significant family history with clinical phenotype in males with breast carcinoma.
Methods: One hundred forty-two men with breast carcinoma were treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center or the Ochsner Clinic from 1973 to 1994. The authors reviewed the effect imparted by a family history of breast carcinoma on the duration of symptoms, the age at diagnosis, and the survival of men with this disease.
Results: Fifteen percent of male breast carcinoma patients had a first-degree relative with the disease. Fifty-eight years was the mean age at diagnosis for those with a family history, compared with 61 years for those without (P = not significant [NS]). The mean duration of symptoms was 23 months for those with a family history, compared with 22 months for those without. Three of 22 patients (13.6%) with a family history, compared with 11 of 90 patients (12%) without a family history, had Stage III disease (P = NS) at presentation. The overall 5-year and 10-year survival rates were 86% and 64%. Survival was not affected by family history. Lymph node positivity reduced 5-year and 10-year survival rates to 73% and 50% (P = 0.0004).
Conclusions: For men with breast carcinoma, the presence of a family history did not affect the age at presentation, the duration of symptoms, the stage of disease at presentation, or the overall survival. In multivariate analysis, the most powerful predictor of outcome for these men was the status of the axillary lymph nodes.
Copyright 1999 American Cancer Society.