Breast carcinoma in men: a population-based study

Cancer. 2004 Jul 1;101(1):51-7. doi: 10.1002/cncr.20312.


Background: Male breast carcinoma is an uncommon disease, and most previous studies have been single-institution series that were limited by extremely small sample sizes. The goals of the current study were to fill in the major gaps in knowledge regarding the incidence, presenting characteristics, prognostic factors, and survival rates of male breast carcinoma and to determine how breast carcinoma differs between men and women.

Methods: Data from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results 1973-1998 database were used. Age-adjusted incidence rates were calculated. Characteristics of the patients and presenting tumors were compared between men and women. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine the effect of each variable on overall survival. Survival rates by disease stage were compared for men and women.

Results: Over the years of the study, the incidence of male breast carcinoma increased significantly from 0.86 to 1.08 per 100,000 population (P < 0.001). Men had a higher median age at diagnosis (P < 0.001) and were more likely to have lymph node involvement (P < 0.001), a more advanced stage at diagnosis (P < 0.001), and tumors that were positive for estrogen receptor (ER) (P < 0.001) and progesterone receptor (PR) (P < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, larger tumor size and lymph node involvement were associated with shortened survival. Tumor grade and ER/PR status did not appear to independently influence survival. Relative survival rates by stage of disease for men and women were similar.

Conclusions: Although it remains a rare disease, the incidence of male breast carcinoma is increasing. Breast carcinoma in men has some epidemiologic and biologic differences from breast carcinoma in women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms, Male / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms, Male / mortality*
  • Breast Neoplasms, Male / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • SEER Program
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate
  • United States