Male breast cancer

Cancer Treat Rev. 2010 Oct;36(6):451-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2010.02.002. Epub 2010 Mar 2.


Male breast cancer accounts for around 1% of all breast cancer cases, but the incidence has increased over the past 25 years. The rarity of this entity precludes prospective randomized clinical trials. Although breast carcinoma in both genders share certain characteristics, notable differences have emerged. Familial cases usually have BRCA2 rather than BRCA1 mutations. Klinefelter syndrome is the strongest risk factor for developing male breast carcinoma. Men tend to be diagnosed at an older age than women. Presentation is usually a painless lump, but is often late, with more than 40% of individuals having stage III or IV disease. When survival is adjusted for age at diagnosis and stage of disease, outcomes for male and female patients with breast cancer is similar. Surgery is usually mastectomy with axillary clearance or sentinel node biopsy. Because 90% of tumors are hormonal receptor positive, tamoxifen is standard adjuvant therapy. Indications for radiotherapy and chemotherapy are similar to female breast cancer. For metastatic disease, hormonal therapy is the main treatment, but chemotherapy can also provide palliation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms, Male / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms, Male / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mastectomy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Risk Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents