Official reprint from UpToDate®
www.uptodate.com ©2017 UpToDate®

Breast cancer in men

William J Gradishar, MD
Section Editors
Daniel F Hayes, MD
Anees B Chagpar, MD, MSc, MA, MPH, MBA, FACS, FRCS(C)
Deputy Editor
Sadhna R Vora, MD


Breast cancer in men is rare [1,2]. Although it shares many similarities with cancer of the breast in women, there are also important differences [3]. This topic will review issues specific to men with breast cancer. An overview of breast cancer in women and topics related to the treatment of breast cancer are discussed in detail separately.

(See "Clinical features, diagnosis, and staging of newly diagnosed breast cancer".)

(See "Pathology of breast cancer".)

(See "Overview of the treatment of newly diagnosed, non-metastatic breast cancer".)

(See "Systemic treatment for metastatic breast cancer: General principles".)


Subscribers log in here

To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information or to purchase a personal subscription, click below on the option that best describes you:
Literature review current through: Jan 2017. | This topic last updated: Thu Jan 12 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2017.
The content on the UpToDate website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. The use of this website is governed by the UpToDate Terms of Use ©2017 UpToDate, Inc.
  1. Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemal A. Cancer Statistics, 2017. CA Cancer J Clin 2017; 67:7.
  2. White J, Kearins O, Dodwell D, et al. Male breast carcinoma: increased awareness needed. Breast Cancer Res 2011; 13:219.
  3. Anderson WF, Althuis MD, Brinton LA, Devesa SS. Is male breast cancer similar or different than female breast cancer? Breast Cancer Res Treat 2004; 83:77.
  4. Sasco AJ, Lowenfels AB, Pasker-de Jong P. Review article: epidemiology of male breast cancer. A meta-analysis of published case-control studies and discussion of selected aetiological factors. Int J Cancer 1993; 53:538.
  5. Agrawal A, Ayantunde AA, Rampaul R, Robertson JF. Male breast cancer: a review of clinical management. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2007; 103:11.
  6. Rudlowski C. Male Breast Cancer. Breast Care (Basel) 2008; 3:183.
  7. Thomas DB. Breast cancer in men. Epidemiol Rev 1993; 15:220.
  8. O'Malley CD, Prehn AW, Shema SJ, Glaser SL. Racial/ethnic differences in survival rates in a population-based series of men with breast carcinoma. Cancer 2002; 94:2836.
  9. Giordano SH, Buzdar AU, Hortobagyi GN. Breast cancer in men. Ann Intern Med 2002; 137:678.
  10. Cutuli B, Lacroze M, Dilhuydy JM, et al. Male breast cancer: results of the treatments and prognostic factors in 397 cases. Eur J Cancer 1995; 31A:1960.
  11. Mabuchi K, Bross DS, Kessler II. Risk factors for male breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 1985; 74:371.
  12. Nahleh ZA, Srikantiah R, Safa M, et al. Male breast cancer in the veterans affairs population: a comparative analysis. Cancer 2007; 109:1471.
  13. Giordano SH, Cohen DS, Buzdar AU, et al. Breast carcinoma in men: a population-based study. Cancer 2004; 101:51.
  14. Ferzoco RM, Ruddy KJ. The Epidemiology of Male Breast Cancer. Curr Oncol Rep 2016; 18:1.
  15. Ruddy KJ, Winer EP. Male breast cancer: risk factors, biology, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. Ann Oncol 2013; 24:1434.
  16. Hogervorst FB, Cornelis RS, Bout M, et al. Rapid detection of BRCA1 mutations by the protein truncation test. Nat Genet 1995; 10:208.
  17. Struewing JP, Brody LC, Erdos MR, et al. Detection of eight BRCA1 mutations in 10 breast/ovarian cancer families, including 1 family with male breast cancer. Am J Hum Genet 1995; 57:1.
  18. Ottini L, Masala G, D'Amico C, et al. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation status and tumor characteristics in male breast cancer: a population-based study in Italy. Cancer Res 2003; 63:342.
  19. Liede A, Karlan BY, Narod SA. Cancer risks for male carriers of germline mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2: a review of the literature. J Clin Oncol 2004; 22:735.
  20. Machado PM, Brandão RD, Cavaco BM, et al. Screening for a BRCA2 rearrangement in high-risk breast/ovarian cancer families: evidence for a founder effect and analysis of the associated phenotypes. J Clin Oncol 2007; 25:2027.
  21. Tai YC, Domchek S, Parmigiani G, Chen S. Breast cancer risk among male BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. J Natl Cancer Inst 2007; 99:1811.
  22. Easton DF, Steele L, Fields P, et al. Cancer risks in two large breast cancer families linked to BRCA2 on chromosome 13q12-13. Am J Hum Genet 1997; 61:120.
  23. Couch FJ, Farid LM, DeShano ML, et al. BRCA2 germline mutations in male breast cancer cases and breast cancer families. Nat Genet 1996; 13:123.
  24. Thorlacius S, Sigurdsson S, Bjarnadottir H, et al. Study of a single BRCA2 mutation with high carrier frequency in a small population. Am J Hum Genet 1997; 60:1079.
  25. Csokay B, Udvarhelyi N, Sulyok Z, et al. High frequency of germ-line BRCA2 mutations among Hungarian male breast cancer patients without family history. Cancer Res 1999; 59:995.
  26. Friedman LS, Gayther SA, Kurosaki T, et al. Mutation analysis of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in a male breast cancer population. Am J Hum Genet 1997; 60:313.
  27. Mavraki E, Gray IC, Bishop DT, Spurr NK. Germline BRCA2 mutations in men with breast cancer. Br J Cancer 1997; 76:1428.
  28. Haraldsson K, Loman N, Zhang QX, et al. BRCA2 germ-line mutations are frequent in male breast cancer patients without a family history of the disease. Cancer Res 1998; 58:1367.
  29. Díez O, Cortés J, Domènech M, et al. BRCA2 germ-line mutations in Spanish male breast cancer patients. Ann Oncol 2000; 11:81.
  30. Domchek SM, Eisen A, Calzone K, et al. Application of breast cancer risk prediction models in clinical practice. J Clin Oncol 2003; 21:593.
  31. Sverdlov RS, Barshack I, Bar Sade RB, et al. Genetic analyses of male breast cancer in Israel. Genet Test 2000; 4:313.
  32. Basham VM, Lipscombe JM, Ward JM, et al. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in a population-based study of male breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res 2002; 4:R2.
  33. Ding YC, Steele L, Kuan CJ, et al. Mutations in BRCA2 and PALB2 in male breast cancer cases from the United States. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2011; 126:771.
  34. Silvestri V, Rizzolo P, Zanna I, et al. PALB2 mutations in male breast cancer: a population-based study in Central Italy. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2010; 122:299.
  35. Boyd J, Rhei E, Federici MG, et al. Male breast cancer in the hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer syndrome. Breast Cancer Res Treat 1999; 53:87.
  36. Harnden DG, Maclean N, Langlands AO. Carcinoma of the breast and Klinefelter's syndrome. J Med Genet 1971; 8:460.
  37. Scheike O, Visfeldt J, Petersen B. Male breast cancer. 3. Breast carcinoma in association with the Klinefelter syndrome. Acta Pathol Microbiol Scand A 1973; 81:352.
  38. Hultborn R, Hanson C, Köpf I, et al. Prevalence of Klinefelter's syndrome in male breast cancer patients. Anticancer Res 1997; 17:4293.
  39. Brinton LA. Breast cancer risk among patients with Klinefelter syndrome. Acta Paediatr 2011; 100:814.
  40. Thomas DB, Jimenez LM, McTiernan A, et al. Breast cancer in men: risk factors with hormonal implications. Am J Epidemiol 1992; 135:734.
  41. Willsher PC, Leach IH, Ellis IO, et al. Male breast cancer: pathological and immunohistochemical features. Anticancer Res 1997; 17:2335.
  42. Donegan WL, Redlich PN, Lang PJ, Gall MT. Carcinoma of the breast in males: a multiinstitutional survey. Cancer 1998; 83:498.
  43. Ciatto S, Iossa A, Bonardi R, Pacini P. Male breast carcinoma: review of a multicenter series of 150 cases. Coordinating Center and Writing Committee of FONCAM (National Task Force for Breast Cancer), Italy. Tumori 1990; 76:555.
  44. Michaels BM, Nunn CR, Roses DF. Lobular carcinoma of the male breast. Surgery 1994; 115:402.
  45. Camus MG, Joshi MG, Mackarem G, et al. Ductal carcinoma in situ of the male breast. Cancer 1994; 74:1289.
  46. Anderson WF, Devesa SS. In situ male breast carcinoma in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database of the National Cancer Institute. Cancer 2005; 104:1733.
  47. Hittmair AP, Lininger RA, Tavassoli FA. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in the male breast: a morphologic study of 84 cases of pure DCIS and 30 cases of DCIS associated with invasive carcinoma--a preliminary report. Cancer 1998; 83:2139.
  48. Desai DC, Brennan EJ Jr, Carp NZ. Paget's disease of the male breast. Am Surg 1996; 62:1068.
  49. Takeuchi T, Komatsuzaki M, Minesaki Y, et al. Paget's disease arising near a male areola without an underlying carcinoma. J Dermatol 1999; 26:248.
  50. Spigel JJ, Evans WP, Grant MD, et al. Male inflammatory breast cancer. Clin Breast Cancer 2001; 2:153.
  51. Chavez-Macgregor M, Clarke CA, Lichtensztajn D, et al. Male breast cancer according to tumor subtype and race: a population-based study. Cancer 2013; 119:1611.
  52. Culell P, Solernou L, Tarazona J, et al. Male breast cancer: a multicentric study. Breast J 2007; 13:213.
  53. Goss PE, Reid C, Pintilie M, et al. Male breast carcinoma: a review of 229 patients who presented to the Princess Margaret Hospital during 40 years: 1955-1996. Cancer 1999; 85:629.
  54. Lattin GE Jr, Jesinger RA, Mattu R, Glassman LM. From the radiologic pathology archives: diseases of the male breast: radiologic-pathologic correlation. Radiographics 2013; 33:461.
  55. Evans GF, Anthony T, Turnage RH, et al. The diagnostic accuracy of mammography in the evaluation of male breast disease. Am J Surg 2001; 181:96.
  56. Dershaw DD, Borgen PI, Deutch BM, Liberman L. Mammographic findings in men with breast cancer. AJR Am J Roentgenol 1993; 160:267.
  57. Appelbaum AH, Evans GF, Levy KR, et al. Mammographic appearances of male breast disease. Radiographics 1999; 19:559.
  58. Joshi A, Kapila K, Verma K. Fine needle aspiration cytology in the management of male breast masses. Nineteen years of experience. Acta Cytol 1999; 43:334.
  59. Westenend PJ, Jobse C. Evaluation of fine-needle aspiration cytology of breast masses in males. Cancer 2002; 96:101.
  60. Vetto J, Schmidt W, Pommier R, et al. Accurate and cost-effective evaluation of breast masses in males. Am J Surg 1998; 175:383.
  61. American Joint Committee on Cancer Staging Manual, 7th ed, Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al (Eds), Springer, New York 2010.
  62. Ouriel K, Lotze MT, Hinshaw JR. Prognostic factors of carcinoma of the male breast. Surg Gynecol Obstet 1984; 159:373.
  63. Digenis AG, Ross CB, Morrison JG, et al. Carcinoma of the male breast: a review of 41 cases. South Med J 1990; 83:1162.
  64. Gough DB, Donohue JH, Evans MM, et al. A 50-year experience of male breast cancer: is outcome changing? Surg Oncol 1993; 2:325.
  65. Spear SL, Bowen DG. Breast reconstruction in a male with a transverse rectus abdominis flap. Plast Reconstr Surg 1998; 102:1615.
  66. Golshan M, Rusby J, Dominguez F, Smith BL. Breast conservation for male breast carcinoma. Breast 2007; 16:653.
  67. Gnerlich JL, Deshpande AD, Jeffe DB, et al. Poorer survival outcomes for male breast cancer compared with female breast cancer may be attributable to in-stage migration. Ann Surg Oncol 2011; 18:1837.
  68. Lyman GH, Giuliano AE, Somerfield MR, et al. American Society of Clinical Oncology guideline recommendations for sentinel lymph node biopsy in early-stage breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2005; 23:7703.
  69. Gentilini O, Chagas E, Zurrida S, et al. Sentinel lymph node biopsy in male patients with early breast cancer. Oncologist 2007; 12:512.
  70. Spence RA, MacKenzie G, Anderson JR, et al. Long-term survival following cancer of the male breast in Northern Ireland. A report of 81 cases. Cancer 1985; 55:648.
  71. Erlichman C, Murphy KC, Elhakim T. Male breast cancer: a 13-year review of 89 patients. J Clin Oncol 1984; 2:903.
  72. Schuchardt U, Seegenschmiedt MH, Kirschner MJ, et al. Adjuvant radiotherapy for breast carcinoma in men: a 20-year clinical experience. Am J Clin Oncol 1996; 19:330.
  73. Giordano SH. A review of the diagnosis and management of male breast cancer. Oncologist 2005; 10:471.
  74. Ribeiro G, Swindell R. Adjuvant tamoxifen for male breast cancer (MBC). Br J Cancer 1992; 65:252.
  75. Ribeiro G, Swindell R, Harris M, et al. A review of the management of male breast carcinoma based on an analysis of 420 treated cases. Breast 1996; 5:141.
  76. Giordano SH, Perkins GH, Broglio K, et al. Adjuvant systemic therapy for male breast carcinoma. Cancer 2005; 104:2359.
  77. Eggemann H, Ignatov A, Smith BJ, et al. Adjuvant therapy with tamoxifen compared to aromatase inhibitors for 257 male breast cancer patients. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2013; 137:465.
  78. Anelli TF, Anelli A, Tran KN, et al. Tamoxifen administration is associated with a high rate of treatment-limiting symptoms in male breast cancer patients. Cancer 1994; 74:74.
  79. Xu S, Yang Y, Tao W, et al. Tamoxifen adherence and its relationship to mortality in 116 men with breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2012; 136:495.
  80. Scott-Conner CE, Jochimsen PR, Menck HR, Winchester DJ. An analysis of male and female breast cancer treatment and survival among demographically identical pairs of patients. Surgery 1999; 126:775.
  81. Herman K, Lobaziewicz W, Skotnicki P, et al. Male breast cancer. Does the prognosis differ compared to female? Neoplasma 2000; 47:191.
  82. Borgen PI, Senie RT, McKinnon WM, Rosen PP. Carcinoma of the male breast: analysis of prognosis compared with matched female patients. Ann Surg Oncol 1997; 4:385.
  83. Willsher PC, Leach IH, Ellis IO, et al. A comparison outcome of male breast cancer with female breast cancer. Am J Surg 1997; 173:185.
  84. El-Tamer MB, Komenaka IK, Troxel A, et al. Men with breast cancer have better disease-specific survival than women. Arch Surg 2004; 139:1079.
  85. Joshi MG, Lee AK, Loda M, et al. Male breast carcinoma: an evaluation of prognostic factors contributing to a poorer outcome. Cancer 1996; 77:490.
  86. Borgen PI, Wong GY, Vlamis V, et al. Current management of male breast cancer. A review of 104 cases. Ann Surg 1992; 215:451.
  87. Yap HY, Tashima CK, Blumenschein GR, Eckles NE. Male breast cancer: a natural history study. Cancer 1979; 44:748.
  88. Salvadori B, Saccozzi R, Manzari A, et al. Prognosis of breast cancer in males: an analysis of 170 cases. Eur J Cancer 1994; 30A:930.
  89. Vetto J, Jun SY, Paduch D, et al. Stages at presentation, prognostic factors, and outcome of breast cancer in males. Am J Surg 1999; 177:379.
  90. Williams WL Jr, Powers M, Wagman LD. Cancer of the male breast: a review. J Natl Med Assoc 1996; 88:439.
  91. Guinee VF, Olsson H, Moller T, et al. The prognosis of breast cancer in males. A report of 335 cases. Cancer 1993; 71:154.
  92. Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program www.seer.cancer.gov (Accessed on April 17, 2013).
  93. Crew KD, Neugut AI, Wang X, et al. Racial disparities in treatment and survival of male breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2007; 25:1089.
  94. Auvinen A, Curtis RE, Ron E. Risk of subsequent cancer following breast cancer in men. J Natl Cancer Inst 2002; 94:1330.
  95. Dong C, Hemminki K. Second primary breast cancer in men. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2001; 66:171.
  96. Hemminki K, Scélo G, Boffetta P, et al. Second primary malignancies in patients with male breast cancer. Br J Cancer 2005; 92:1288.
  97. Donovan T, Flynn M. What makes a man a man? The lived experience of male breast cancer. Cancer Nurs 2007; 30:464.
  98. Bunkley DT, Robinson JD, Bennet NE Jr, Gordon S. Breast cancer in men: emasculation by association? J Clin Psychol Med Settings 2000; 7:91.
  99. France L, Michie S, Barrett-Lee P, et al. Male cancer: a qualitative study of male breast cancer. Breast 2000; 9:343.
  100. Brain K, Williams B, Iredale R, et al. Psychological distress in men with breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2006; 24:95.
  102. Stierer M, Rosen H, Weitensfelder W, et al. Male breast cancer: Austrian experience. World J Surg 1995; 19:687.
  103. Kraybill WG, Kaufman R, Kinne D. Treatment of advanced male breast cancer. Cancer 1981; 47:2185.
  104. Patel JK, Nemoto T, Dao TL. Metastatic breast cancer in males. Assessment of endocrine therapy. Cancer 1984; 53:1344.
  105. Kantarjian H, Yap HY, Hortobagyi G, et al. Hormonal therapy for metastatic male breast cancer. Arch Intern Med 1983; 143:237.
  106. Jaiyesimi IA, Buzdar AU, Sahin AA, Ross MA. Carcinoma of the male breast. Ann Intern Med 1992; 117:771.
  107. Lopez M, Di Lauro L, Lazzaro B, Papaldo P. Hormonal treatment of disseminated male breast cancer. Oncology 1985; 42:345.
  108. Labrie F, Dupont A, Bélanger A, et al. Complete response to combination therapy with an LHRH agonist and flutamide in metastatic male breast cancer: a case report. Clin Invest Med 1990; 13:275.
  109. Lopez M, Natali M, Di Lauro L, et al. Combined treatment with buserelin and cyproterone acetate in metastatic male breast cancer. Cancer 1993; 72:502.
  110. Doberauer C, Niederle N, Schmidt CG. Advanced male breast cancer treatment with the LH-RH analogue buserelin alone or in combination with the antiandrogen flutamide. Cancer 1988; 62:474.
  111. Zabolotny BP, Zalai CV, Meterissian SH. Successful use of letrozole in male breast cancer: a case report and review of hormonal therapy for male breast cancer. J Surg Oncol 2005; 90:26.
  112. Italiano A, Largillier R, Marcy PY, et al. [Complete remission obtained with letrozole in a man with metastatic breast cancer]. Rev Med Interne 2004; 25:323.
  113. Giordano SH, Valero V, Buzdar AU, Hortobagyi GN. Efficacy of anastrozole in male breast cancer. Am J Clin Oncol 2002; 25:235.
  114. Doyen J, Italiano A, Largillier R, et al. Aromatase inhibition in male breast cancer patients: biological and clinical implications. Ann Oncol 2010; 21:1243.
  115. Agrawal A, Cheung KL, Robertson JF. Fulvestrant in advanced male breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2007; 101:123.
  116. Masci G, Gandini C, Zuradelli M, et al. Fulvestrant for advanced male breast cancer patients: a case series. Ann Oncol 2011; 22:985.