Changes in male breast cancer over a 30-year period

Am Surg. 2008 Aug;74(8):707-11; discussion 711-2.


Male breast cancer is a rare clinical entity accounting for approximately 1 per cent of all breast cancers. The present study investigated changes in patient characteristics, disease patterns, treatment, and outcomes over a 30-year period. A retrospective chart review was performed on male breast cancer patients treated between 1975 and 2005 at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA. Demographic, pathologic, treatment, and survival information was collected. To facilitate comparison of trends, the patients were divided into two groups: Cohort A (1972-1991, previously reported) and Cohort B (1992-2005). Both cohorts included 28 male patients. Comparing the cohorts, no statistical differences were noted in median age, ethnicity, presenting symptoms, or progesterone receptor status. In Cohort A, 70 per cent of patients were estrogen receptor positive, compared with 100 per cent of Cohort B (P = 0.02). Her2/neu was positive in three of five patients in Cohort B. There was a trend toward more conservative surgery, with no radical mastectomy or orchiectomy performed in Cohort B. Only two patients had sentinel lymph node mapping, both from Cohort B. Infiltrating ductal carcinoma was more prevalent in Cohort B (P = 0.04). For Cohort A and B, 5-year survival was 43 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively, which was not statistically significant. For male breast cancer, radical mastectomy is no longer a common treatment modality. Male breast cancer of today is more hormonally responsive which may have important implications for therapy. Survival has not significantly improved over the previous 30 years. Compilation of multi-institutional data of male breast cancer is needed to advance the treatment of this uncommon disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms, Male / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms, Male / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Receptors, Progesterone / analysis
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Survival Rate
  • Virginia / epidemiology


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone