A 50-year experience of male breast cancer: is outcome changing?

D. B. Gough, J. H. Donohue, M. M. Evans, P. J. Pernicone, L. E. Wold, J. M. Naessens, P. C. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


During the period 1933-1983, 124 men (median age 62.5 years, range 33-86 years) were treated for breast carcinoma. Median length of follow-up was 6.7 years and was complete for 93% of patients. Presenting complaints were most frequently a mass (95%) or pain (31%) while physical examination revealed the tumour to be central in 95% of patients with nipple or skin retraction in 36% and associated gynaecomastia in 12%. Twenty-seven per cent of the patients had a positive family history of breast cancer, 6% noted previous breast trauma and 7% had prior chest wall irradiation. Mean tumour size was 2.5 cm, and the pathological stage was 0 in 3%, I in 17%, II in 22%, III in 35%, IV in 11%, and unknown in 12%. Ninety-four per cent were ductal carcinoma. Histological grading of tumours was 2% grade 1, 10% grade 2, 33% grade 3 and 48% grade 4. Ninety-two per cent of patients underwent mastectomy (41% radical, 39% modified radical and 12% simple), while adjuvant irradiation was used in 44% and chemotherapy in 9%. Median disease-free patient survival was 5 years (36% of patients developed tumour recurrence). Median overall patient survival was 6.3 years (57% at 5 years and 31% at 10 years). Tumour size (P < 0.05), pathological stage (P < 0.04), and tumour grade (P = 0.007) were adverse factors for recurrence, while pathological stage (P < 0.02), tumour size (P < 0.03), pain (P < 0.05) and age (P < 0.02) were associated with a decreased survival. Duration of symptoms or type of mastectomy had no effect on recurrence or survival. When data for the first 25 years were compared to those of the second 25 years, no differences were observed in patient survival, tumour recurrence, duration of symptoms, stage of disease or size of tumour, though the use of adjuvant radiation and the performance of radical mastectomy decreased from 78 and 82 to 15 and 12, respectively. Breast carcinoma in males affects an older population, is often advanced at diagnosis, and is frequently fatal. Despite changes in therapy over the last 50 years, no effect on survival or recurrence was observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-333
Number of pages9
JournalSurgical Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1993


  • breast
  • carcinoma
  • male
  • mastectomy
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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