#malebreastcancer in Chinese men is similar to that of men elsewhere according to Zhou et al

Male breast carcinoma: a clinicopathological and immunohistochemical characterization study

Zhou et al., Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2014;7(10):6852-6861

Background

A good baseline study of any disease group is a retrospective analysis based on hospital records or even a registry. By designing the study carefully, and going back far enough in the records, you can both select cases where the outcome is known (ie the patient has died) and where the patients received similar treatment that is relevant to what patients are getting today. (When treatment or diagnosis changes dramatically, this may change the outcome, of course.) Here then is a small study of 73 male breast cancer patients from China, by Fudan University’s Cancer Center in Shanghai (a Sister Institution of MD Anderson through our Global Academic Program!).

Findings

Perhaps not surprisingly the characteristics of the cancers are broadly similar to what has been reported before from other centers.

Some interesting differences appear to be that the median age of presentation is 59, or about 9 years younger than a recent study of around 600 men from California by Chavez-Macgregor et al. Also, in the Fudan study 45% of cases presented at stage 0 and 1, which is much higher than found among the men in California where this group represented less than a third.

In terms of histological and molecular characteristics this group was similar to what has been reported elsewhere: hormone receptor positive invasive ductal carcinomas.

Comment

The study is pretty small, as the authors acknowledge, and so any conclusions must be taken with caution. Also, the cases probably represent mostly patients from a large urban center (Shanghai) and so with good access to health care, while rural populations may present later. Overall it is good to have direct confirmation that breast cancer in Chinese men is similar to that in men from other regions.

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