Author(s): Nahleh ZA
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Abstract Male breast cancer (MBC) is on the rise in the United States [Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program () SEER Stat Database: Incidence-SEER 9 Regs Public-Use; November 2004 submission (1973-2002), National Cancer Institute, DCPPS, Surveillance Research Program, Cancer Statistics Branch, released April 2005, based on the November 2004 submission]; however mortality due to MBC has not changed unlike in its female counterpart [American Cancer Society: Cancer facts and figures 2005. Atlanta (GA): American Cancer Society; 2005]. The rarity of MBC has precluded major progress in the understanding and treatment of this disease. Treatment has often been extrapolated from female breast cancer (FBC) despite distinct clinicopathologic features between the two entities, especially with regards to the role of male hormones and estrogens in this disease. Also, it is uncertain if hormone receptor positive tumors carry the same prognostic implication in MBC as in the female disease. Hormonal therapy has been the mainstay of treatment in MBC with tamoxifen the front-line drug. The role of the newer generation aromatase inhibitors has not been well defined but they are being used in clinical practice for the treatment of MBC, based on accepted data for women with the disease. This commentary focuses on the major hormonal differences between male and female breast cancer that would suggest the need to explore different treatment strategies if significant advances are to be made in the understanding and treatment of this distinct disease.
This article was published in Cancer Treat Rev
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology