Researchers Shed Light on Treatment, Patterns of Male Breast Cancer

A new study published in the journal Cancer provided insight into the available data on male breast cancer, including risk factors and available treatments.

“Our study highlights unique practice patterns and factors associated with prognosis in MBC, furthering our understanding of the treatment and prognosis of MBC,” said study author Kathryn Ruddy, MD, MPH, in a press release. “The racial, economic, and age-related health disparities we found could inform future efforts to target interventions to optimize outcomes in men with breast cancer.”

The study included male patients with stage I to stage III breast cancer who were diagnosed between 2004 and 2014. Data were collected from the National Cancer Data Base.

Male Breast Cancer: Prognosis and Treatments

Final analysis included 10,873 cases of male breast cancer; median age at diagnosis was 64 years. Just under a quarter (24%) of patients underwent breast-conserving surgery, of whom 70% received radiotherapy. Of the total cohort, about 44% of patients underwent chemotherapy. Of patients with estrogen receptor-positive disease, 62% received endocrine therapy. Of patients with lymph node–negative, estrogen receptor–positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)‐negative tumors, 35% underwent Oncotype DX. Over the span of the trial, rates of total mastectomy, contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, radiotherapy after breast conservation, ordering of Oncotype DX, and the use of endocrine therapy significantly increased (P < 0.05). The following factors were associated with worse overall survival: older age, black race, higher Charlson Comorbidity Index, high tumor grade and stage of disease, and undergoing total mastectomy. The following factors were associated with better overall survival: living in a higher income area; having progesterone receptor–positive tumors; and receipt of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and endocrine therapy were associated with better overall survival.

“Despite the lack of prospective randomized trials in patients with [male breast cancer], the results of the current study demonstrated that the treatment of this disease has evolved over the years. These findings further the understanding of the modern treatment and prognosis of [male breast cancer], and identify several areas for further research,” the authors wrote in summary.

Other recent research regarding male breast cancer found that high-risk men may benefit from preventative cancer screening measures, such as mammography. The following risk factors were associated with breast cancer: older age, Ashkenazi descent, genetic mutations, personal history, and first-degree family history. Non–first-degree family history was not associated with cancer.