Male Breast Cancer



The aim of studying the epidemiology of breast cancer is to identify risk factors that could be eliminated or inhibited. Unfortunately, the two major risk factors are gender and increasing age, neither of which can be avoided. Nevertheless, the relative rarity of male breast cancer (MBC) has prompted investigations in the hope that the disease in men can give clues to the etiology of the more common female form. One of the evident differences is the age frequency distribution of the disease: in women it is bimodal, with peaks at 52 and 71 years whereas in MBC it is unimodal, peaking at age 71 (Anderson et al. 2004). In a recent report from the Veterans’ Affairs Central Cancer Registry the mean age at diagnosis for females with breast cancer was 57 whereas for men it was 67 (Nahleh et al. 2007). The clinical behavior of MBC is similar to that of postmenopausal breast cancer in women (Fentiman et al. 2006).


Breast Cancer BRCA2 Mutation Standardize Incidence Ratio Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Male Breast Cancer 


  1. Amir H, Kaaya EE, Kwesigabo G, Kiitinya JN (2000) Breast cancer before and after the AIDS epidemic in women and men: a study of Tanzanian Cancer Registry Data 1968 to 1996. J Natl Med Assoc 92:301–305PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersen JA, Gram JB (1982) Male breast at autopsy. Acta Pathol Microbiol Immunol Scand 90(3):191–197Google Scholar
  3. Anderson WF, Althuis MD, Brinton LA et al (2004) Is male breast cancer similar or different from female breast cancer? Br Cancer Res Treat 83:77–86Google Scholar
  4. Auvinen A, Curtis RE, Ron E (2002) Risk of subsequent cancer following breast cancer in men. J Natl Cancer Inst 94:1330–1332PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Ballerina P, Recchione C, Cavalleri A et al (1990) Hormones in male breast cancer. Tumori 76:26–28Google Scholar
  6. Basham VM, Lipscombe JM, Ward JM et al (2002) BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in a population-based study of male breast cancer. Br Cancer Res 4:R2Google Scholar
  7. Benchellal Z, Wagner A, Harchaoui Y et al (2002) Male breast cancer: 19 case reports. Ann Chir 127:619PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bernstein L, Depue RH, Ross RK et al (1986) Higher maternal levels of free estradiol in first compared with second pregnancy: early gestational differences. J Natl Cancer Inst 76:1035–1039PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Bhagwandin S (1972) Carcinoma of the male breast in Zambia. East Afr Med J 49:176–179Google Scholar
  10. Bhatia S, Robison LL, Oberlin O et al (1996) Breast cancer and other second neoplasms after childhood Hodgkin’s disease. N Engl J Med 334:745–751PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Brainard GC, Kavet R, Keiferts LI (1999) The relationship between electromagnetic field and light exposures by melatonin and breast cancer risk. J Pineal Res 26:65–100PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Calabresi E, De Giull A, Becchiolini A et al (1976) Plasma estrogens and androgens in male breast cancer. J Steroid Biochem 7:603–609Google Scholar
  13. Carey AH, Waterworth D, Patel K et al (1994) Polycystic ovaries and premature male pattern baldness are associated with one allele of the steroid metabolism gene CYP17. Hum Mol Genet 3:1873–1876PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Carlsson G, Hafstrom L, Jonsson P (1981) Male breast cancer. Clin Oncol 7:149–155PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Casagrande JT, Hanisch R, Pike MC et al (1988) A case-control study of male breast cancer. Cancer Res 48:1326–1330PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Cerhan JR, Kushi LH, Losom JE et al (2000) Twinship and risk of post-menopausal breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 92:261–265PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Chamberlain NL, Driver ED, Miesfeld RI (1994) The length and location of CAG trinucleotide repeats in the androgen receptor N-terminal domain affect transactivation function. Nucleic Acids Res 22:3181–3186PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Chodick G, Struewing JP, Ron E et al (2008) Similar prevalence of founder BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations among Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi men with breast cancer: evidence fromj 261 cases in Israel, 1976–1999. Eur J Med Genet 51:141–147PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Coard K, McCartney T (2004) Bilateral synchronous carcinoma of the male breast in a patient receiving estrogen therapy for carcinoma of the prostate: cause or coincidence? South Med J 97:308–310PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Cocco P, Figgs L, Dosemeci M et al (1998) Case-control study of occupational exposures and male breast cancer. Occup Environ Med 55:599–604PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. D’Avanzo B, La Vecchia C (1995) Risk factors for male breast cancer. Br J Cancer 71:1359–1362PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. De Jong MM, Nolte IM, te Meerman GJ et al (2002) Genes other than BRCA1 and BRCA2 involved in breast cancer susceptibility. J Med Genet 39:225–242PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Demers PA, Thomas DB, Rosenblatt KA (1991) Occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and breast cancer in men. Am J Epidemiol 134:340–347PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Donegan WL, Redlich PN, Lang PG, Gall MT (1998) Carcinoma of the breast in males. A multiinstitutional survey. Cancer 83:498–509PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Dong C, Hemminki K (2001) Second primary breast cancer in men. Br Cancer Res Treat 66:171–172Google Scholar
  26. Ewertz M, Holmberg L, Tretli S et al (2001) Risk factors for male breast cancer – a case-control study from Scandinavia. Acta Oncol 40:467–471PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Fackenthal JD, Marsh DJ, Richardson AL et al (2001) Male breast cancer in Cowden syndrome patients with germline PTEN mutations. J Med Genet 38:159–164PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Falchetti M, Lupi R, Rizzolo P et al (2007) BRCA1/2rerrangements and CHEK2 common mutations are infrequent in Italian male breast cancer cases. Br Cancer Res Treat PMID 17661168Google Scholar
  29. Fentiman IS, Brame K, Chaudary MA et al (1988) Bromocriptine adjuvant treatment for operable breast cancer: a double-blind controlled pilot study. Lancet i:609–610Google Scholar
  30. Fentiman IS, Tirelli U, Monfardini S et al (1990) Cancer in the elderly: why so badly treated? Lancet 335:1020–1022PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Fentiman IS (1998) Diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, Chapter 19 Martin Dunitz, LondonGoogle Scholar
  32. Fentiman IS, Fourquet A, Hortobagyi G (2006) Male breast cancer. Lancet 367:595–601PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Forloni F, Giovilli K, Pecis S et al (2001) Pituitary prolactin-secreting macroadenoma combined with bilateral breast cancer in a 45-year-old man. Endocrinol Invest 24:454–459Google Scholar
  34. Frank TS, Deffenbaugh AM, Reid JE et al (2002) Clinical characteristics of individuals with germline mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2: analysis of 10,000 individuals. J Clin Oncol 20:1480–1490PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Friedman LS, Gayther SA, Kurosaki T et al (1997) Mutation analysis of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in a male breast cancer population. Am J Hum Genet 60:313–319PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Gill S, Peston D, Vonderhaar BK, Shousha S (2001) Expression of prolactin receptors in normal, benign and malignant breast tissue: an immunological study. J Clin Pathol 54:956–960PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Giordano SH, Cohen DS, Buzdae AU et al (2004) Breast carcinoma in men. A population-based study. Cancer 101:51–57PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Gudmundsdottir K, Thoracius S, Jonasson JG et al (2003) CYP17 promoter polymorphism and breast cancer risk among males and females in relation to BRCA2 status. Br J Cancer 88(6):933–936PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Guenel P, Cyr D, Sabroe S et al (2004) Alcohol drinking may increase the risk of breast cancer in men: a European population-based case-control study. Cancer Causes Control 15:571–580PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Haga S, Watanabe O, Shimizu T et al (1993) Breast cancer in a male patient with prolactinoma. Surg Today 23:251–255PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Hansen J (2000) Elevated risk for male breast cancer after occupational exposure to gasoline and vehicular combustion products. Am J Ind Med 37:349–352PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Harnden DG, Maclean N, Langlands AO (1971) Carcinoma of the breast and Klinefelter’s syndrome. J Med Gen 8:460–461Google Scholar
  43. Hodgson NC, Button JH, Franceschi D, Moffat FL, Livingstone AS (2004) Male breast cancer: is the incidence increasing? Ann Surg Oncol 11:751–755PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Hsing AW, McLaughlin JK, Cocco P et al (1998) Risk factors for male breast cancer (United States). Cancer Causes Control 9:269–276PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Hultborn R, Hanson C, Kopf I et al (1997) Prevalence of Klinefelter’s syndrome in male breast cancer patients. Anticancer Res 17:4293–4297PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Jacobs PS, Melville M, Ratcliffe S, Keay AJ, Syme J (1974) A cytogenetic survey of 11680 newborn infants. Ann Hum Genet 37:359–376PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Johnson KC, Pan S, Mao Y (2002) Risk factors for male breast cancer in Canada, 1994–198. Eur J Cancer Prev 11:253–263PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Jonasson JG, Agnarsson BA, Thorlacius S et al (1996) Male breast cancer in Iceland. Br J Cancer 65:446–449Google Scholar
  49. Kahla PB, Cassaro S, Vladimir FG et al (2005) Bilateral synchronous breast cancer in a male.Mt Sinai J Med 72:120–123PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Klinefelter HG, Reifentein EC Jr, Albright F (1942) Syndrome characterized by gynecomastia, aspermatogenesis without a-Leydigism and increased secretion of follicle-stimulation hormone. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2:615–627Google Scholar
  51. Lambley J, Maguire E, Lam KY (2005) Synchronous bilateral breast cancer in an elderly man. Br J 11:153Google Scholar
  52. La Vecchia C, Levi F, Lucchini F (1992) Descriptive epidemiology of male breast cancer in Europe. Int J Cancer 51:62–66PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Lenfant-Pejovic M-H, Mlika-Cabanne N, Bouchardy C et al (1990) Risk factors for male breast cancer : a Franco-Swiss case-control study. Int J Cancer 45:661–665PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Lobaccaro JM, Lumbruso S, Belon C et al (1993) Androgen receptor gene mutation in male breast cancer. Nat Genet 5:109–110PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Loomis DP (1992) Cancer of breast among men in electrical occupations. Lancet 339:1482–1483PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Lynge E, Afonso N, Kaerlev L et al (2005) European multicentre case-control study on risk factors for rare cancers of unknown aetiology. Eur J Cancer 41:601–612PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Ma F, Fleming LE, Lee DJ et al (2005) Mortality in Florida firefighters, 1972 to 1999. Am J Ind Med 47:509–517PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Mabuchi K, Bross DS, Kessler II (1985) Risk factors for male breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 74:371–375PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. MacLean HE, Brown RW, Beilin GL, Zajac JD (2004) Increased frequency of long androgen receptor CAG repeats in male breast cancers. Br Cancer Res Treat 88:239–246Google Scholar
  60. Martin AM, Weber BL (2000) Genetic and hormonal risk factors in breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 92:1126–1135PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. McLaughlin JK, Malker BR, Blot WJ et al (1988) Occupational risks for male breast cancer in Sweden. Br J Indust Med 4:275–6Google Scholar
  62. McClure JA, Higgins CC (1951) Bilateral carcinoma of male breast after estrogen therapy. JAMA 146:7–9Google Scholar
  63. Meijers-Heijboer H, van den Ouweland A, Klijn J et al (2002) Low-penetrance susceptibility to breast cancer due to CHEK2(*)1100delC in non-carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. Nat Genet 31:55–59PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Nahleh ZA, Srikantiah R, Safa M et al (2007) Male breast cancer in the veterans affairs population: a comparative analysis. Cancer 109:1471–1477PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Nirmul D, Pegoraro RJ, Jialal I et al (1982) The sex hormone profile of male patients with breast cancer. Br J Cancer 48:423–427Google Scholar
  66. Ohayon T, Gasl I, Baruch RG, Szabo C, Friedman E (2004) CHEK2*1100delC and male breast cancer risk in Israel. Int J Cancer 108:479–480PubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Ojara EA (1978) Carcinoma of the male breast in Mulago Hospital, Kampala. East Afr Med J 55:489–491PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Okada K, Kajiwara S, Tanaka H, Sakamoto G (2003) Synchronous bilateral non-invasive ductal carcinoma of the male breast: a case report. Br Cancer 10:163–166Google Scholar
  69. Olsson H, Bladstrom A, Alm P (2002) Male gynaecomastia and risk for malignant tumours – a cohort study. BMC Cancer 2:26–31PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Palli D, Masala G, Mariani-Costantini R et al (2005) A gene-environment interaction between occupation and BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations in male breast cancer. Eur J Cancer 40:2474–2479Google Scholar
  71. Petridou E, Glokas G, Kuper H et al (2000) Endocrine correlates of male breast cancer risk: a case-control study in Athens, Greece. Br J Cancer 83:1234–1237PubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Pollan M, Gustavsson P, Floderus B (2001) Breast cancer, occupation, and exposure to electromagnetic fields among Swedish men. Am J Ind Med 39:276–285PubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Price WH, Clayton JF, Wilson J, Collyer S, De Mey R (1985) Causes of death in X chromatin positive males (Klinefelter’s syndrome). J Epidemiol Community Health 39:330–336PubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Ribeiro GG, Phillips HU, Skinner LG (1980) Serum oestradiol-17β, testosterone, luteinising hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone in males with breast cancer. Br J Cancer 41:474–477PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Ron E, Ikeda T, Preston DL, Tokuaka S (2005) Male breast cancer incidence among atomic bomb survivors. J Natl Cancer Inst 97:603–605PubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Rosenblatt KA, Thomas DB, Jiminez LM et al (1999) The relationship between diet and breast cancer in men (United States). Cancer Causes Control 10:107–113PubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Rundle A, Tang D, Hibshoosh H et al (2000) The relationship between genetic damage from polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons in breast tissue and normal tissue. Carcinogenesis 21:1281–1289PubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. Safram-Hoang S, Ziogas A, Anton-Culver H (2007) Risk of second primary cancer in men with breast cancer. Br Cancer Res 9:R10 (doi:b10,1186/bcr1643)Google Scholar
  79. Sasco AJ, Lowenfels AB, Pasker-de Jong J (1993) Review article: epidemiology of male breast cancer. A meta-analysis of published case-control studies and discussion of selected aetiological factors. Int J Cancer 53:538–549PubMedGoogle Scholar
  80. Scheike O, Svenstrop B, Frandsen VA (1973) Male breast cancer II. Metabolism of oestradiol-17β in men with breast cancer. J Steroid Biochem 4:489–491PubMedGoogle Scholar
  81. Schottenfeld D, Lilienfeld AM, Diamond H (1963) Some observations on the epidemiology of breast cancer among males. Am J Public Health 53:890–897Google Scholar
  82. Smith TR, Levine EA, Perrier ND et al (2003) DNA-repair genetic polymorphisms and breast cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 12:1200–1204PubMedGoogle Scholar
  83. Sørensen HT, Olsen ML, Mellemkjaer L et al (2005) The intrauterine origin of male breast cancer: a birth order study in Denmark. Eur J Cancer Prev 14:185–186PubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. Steinitz R, Katz L, Ben-Hur M (1981) Male breast cancer in Israel: selected epidemiologic aspects. J Med Sci 17:816–821Google Scholar
  85. Swerdlow AJ, Schoemaker MJ, Higgins CD et al (2005) Cancer incidence and mortality in men with Klinefelter syndrome: a cohort study. J Natl Cancer Inst 97:1204–1210PubMedGoogle Scholar
  86. Symmers WSC (1968) Carcinoma of breast in trans-sexual individuals after surgical and hormonal interference with the primary and secondary sex characteristics. Br Med J 2:83–85PubMedGoogle Scholar
  87. Syrjäkoski K, Hyytinen E-J, Kuukasjärvi T et al (2003) Androgen receptor gene alterations in Finnish male breast cancer.Br Cancer Res Treat 77:167–170Google Scholar
  88. Syrjäkoski K, Kuukasjärvi T, Auvinen A, Kallioniemi O-P (2004) CHEK2 1100delC is not a risk factor for male breast cancer population. Int J Cancer 108:475–476PubMedGoogle Scholar
  89. Tai YC, Domchek S, Parmigiani G, Chen S (2007) Breast cancer risk among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. J Natl Cancer Inst 99:1811–1814PubMedGoogle Scholar
  90. Taylor EF, Burley VJ, Greenwood DC, Cade JE (2007) Meat consumption and risk of breast cancer in the UK Women’s Cohort Study. Br J Cancer 96:1139–1146PubMedGoogle Scholar
  91. Tchou J, Ward MR, Volpe P et al (2007) Large genomic rearrangements in BRCA1 and BRCA2 and clinical characteristics of men with breast cancer in the United States. Clin Breast Cancer 7:627–633PubMedGoogle Scholar
  92. The CHEK2 Breast Cancer Consortium (2002) Low penetrance susceptibility to breast cancer due to CHEK2*1100delC in noncarriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Nat Genet 31:55–59Google Scholar
  93. Thiébaut ACM, Kipnis V, Chang S-C et al (2007) Dietary fat and postmenopausal invasive breast cancer in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study Cohort. J Natl Cancer Inst 99:451–462PubMedGoogle Scholar
  94. Thomas DB, Jimenez LM, McTiernan A et al (1992) Breast cancer in men: risk factors with hormonal implications. Am J Epidemiol 135:734–748PubMedGoogle Scholar
  95. Thomas DB, Rosenblatt K, Jiminez LM et al (1994) Ionizing radiation and breast cancer in men (United States). Cancer Causes Control 5:9–14PubMedGoogle Scholar
  96. Thomas HV, Murphy MF, Key TJ et al (1998) Pregnancy and menstrual hormone levels in mothers of twins compared to mothers of singletons. Ann Human Biol 25:69–75Google Scholar
  97. Travis R, Allen DS, Fentiman IS, Key TJ (2004) Melatonin and breast cancer: a prospective study. J Natl Cancer Inst 96:475–482PubMedGoogle Scholar
  98. Treves N (1958) Gynecomastia: the origins of mammary swelling in the male: an analysis of 406 patients with breast hypertrophy, 525 with testicular tumors and 13 with adrenal neoplasms. Cancer 11:1083–1102PubMedGoogle Scholar
  99. Trichopoulos D (1990) Hypothesis: does breast cancer originate in utero? Lancet 335:1604Google Scholar
  100. Tynes T, Andersen A (1990) Electromagnetic fields and male breast cancer. Lancet 336:1596PubMedGoogle Scholar
  101. Volm MD, Talamonti MS, Thangavelu M, Gradishar WK (1997) Pituitary adenoma and bilateral male breast cancer: an unusual association. J Surg Oncol 64:74–78PubMedGoogle Scholar
  102. Waterhouse J, Muir C, Correa P, Powell JR (eds) (1976) Cancer incidence in five continents, vol 3. IARC Sci Publ, Lyon, p 15Google Scholar
  103. Weiderpass E, Gridley G, Persson I et al (1997) Risk of endometrial and breast cancer in patients with diabetes mellitus. Int J Cancer 71:360–363PubMedGoogle Scholar
  104. Weiderpass E, Ye W, Adami HO et al (2001) Breast cancer risk in male alcoholics in Sweden. Cancer Causes Control 12:661–664PubMedGoogle Scholar
  105. Whiteman DC, Murphy MF, Verkasalo PK et al (2000) Breast cancer risk in male twins: joint analysers of four twin cohorts in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the United States. Br J Cancer 83:1231–1233PubMedGoogle Scholar
  106. Wooster R, Mangion J, Eeles R et al (1992) A germline mutation in the androgen receptor gene in two brothers with breast cancer and Reifenstein syndrome. Nat Genet 2:132–134PubMedGoogle Scholar
  107. Young IE, Kurian KM, Annink C et al (1999) A polymorphism in the CYP17 gene is associated with male breast cancer. Br J Cancer 81:141–143PubMedGoogle Scholar
  108. Young IE, Kurian FM, Mackenzie MAF et al (2000a) The CAG repeat within the androgen receptor in male breast cancer patients. J Med Genet 37:139–140PubMedGoogle Scholar
  109. Young IE, Kurian KM, Mackenzie MAF et al (2000b) A polymorphic tetranucleotide repeat in the CYP19 gene and male breast cancer. Br J Cancer 82:1247–1248PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guy’s King’s and St Thomas’ School of MedicineGuy’s HospitalLondonUK

Personalised recommendations