BACKGROUND: In order to support or refute conventional notions of breast cancer in males as a late-presenting disease associated with a worse prognosis than the same disease in females, we reviewed a recent, multi- institutional experience. METHODS: A case series from three area hospital system cancer data bases was reviewed. Demographics, pathology, stages at presentation, and treatment were determined from the data set and correlated with outcomes (recurrence/survival). RESULTS: Fifty-four patients (mean age 64.5, SD = 12.8) were identified; half of the tumors were stage T0 or T1, 62% were node negative (N0), and 57% had an American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage grouping of IIA or less. Eighty-five percent of tumors examined expreSSed hormone receptors. There were no local-only recurrences in the 50 cases resected for cure, including 5 cases of minimal breast cancer treated by lumpectomy only. Five- and 10-year overall disease-free survival was AJCC stage related: 100% and 71%, respectively, for early stage (0-IIA) disease, and 71% and 20%, respectively, for advanced (IIB-IV) stage (P = 0.0051 by log-rank). Only AJCC stage and its components (tumor size, nodal status, presence of metastases) correlated with survival by multivariate analysis; other factors such as age, family history, and presenting symptoms/signs did not. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of breast cancers in males present at early stages and are hormone receptor positive. In contrast to older notions of this disease as uniformly aggressive, we conclude that prognostic factors and stage-for-stage outcomes for breast cancer in males are similar to those published for the disease in females.
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