Treatment for Breast Cancer in Men Differs From Treatment for Women

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Men with breast cancer receive less postlumpectomy radiation therapy than women, and have lower overall survival.
Men with breast cancer receive less postlumpectomy radiation therapy than women, and have lower overall survival.
The following article features coverage from the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor's conference coverage. 

CHICAGO — Male breast cancer patients are less likely than their female counterparts to receive adjuvant hormone therapy, according to study findings presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.  

In addition, compared with women, men who undergo lumpectomy are less likely to receive adjuvant radiation.

Using the National Cancer Data Base, researchers led by Esther Dubrovsky, MD, of The Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, identified 2,047,868 patients with breast cancer diagnosed from 2004 to 2014. Of these, 19,409 (1%) were men. Dr Dubrovsky and her colleagues divided the male cohort into an earlier group (2004 to 2009) and a later group (2010 to 2014). The groups included 9790 and 9619 men, respectively.

Compared with the earlier group, the later group underwent fewer lumpectomies (24% vs 27%, P <.0001), but were more likely to receive postlumpectomy radiation (68% vs 61%; P <.0001). The proportion of men receiving adjuvant hormone therapy was significantly higher in the later than earlier group (61% vs 49%; P <.0001).

Compared with women, men were older and had a slightly later stage at diagnosis and larger tumors. Male patients with breast cancer had higher rates of ER-positive and PR-positive tumors than women (91% vs 80% and 82% vs 69%, respectively; P <.0001), but lower rates of adjuvant hormone therapy (55% vs 58%; P <.0001). A smaller proportion of men than women receive postlumpectomy radiation therapy (16% vs 44%; P <.0001).

Although overall survival (OS) of men with breast cancer lags behind that of women, the gap is narrowing. For men and women whose cancer was diagnosed during 2004 to 2009, overall survival was 66% and 77%, respectively (median follow-up 73.9 months vs 80.4 months). For men and women whose cancer was diagnosed during 2010 to 2014, OS was 84% and 90%, respectively (median follow-up 33.85 months vs 35.91 months).

Read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor's coverage of the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting by visiting the conference page.

Reference

Dubrovsky E, Schwartz S, Chun J, et al. An updated analysis of male breast cancer from the NCDB. Poster presentation at: 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting; June 2-6, 2017; Chicago, IL.

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