Breast Pathology

2020 Edition
| Editors: Anna Sapino, Janina Kulka

Male Breast Cancer

  • Valerie SpeirsEmail author
  • Matthew P. Humphries
  • Abeer M. Shaaban
Reference work entry




Male breast cancer (MBC)

Clinical Features

  • Incidence

    Breast cancer in men is rare and accounts for 1% of all breast cancer diagnoses. In the UK, some 350 men are diagnosed annually with around 2470 in the USA. Data from cancer registries in the UK and USA suggests that the numbers of men receiving a breast cancer diagnosis has been rising gradually since the 1970s.

  • Age

    Typically over 60, although all ages can be affected

  • Sex

    Breast cancer is found predominantly in women, but it can also affect men. Breast cancer in men is around 100 times less common than it is in women.

  • Site

    Breast tissue in men is typically situated directly behind the nipple.

  • Clinical presentation

    A unilateral, firm, painless, or minimally tender mass behind or adjacent to nipple or in axilla; changes in appearance of the nipple, e.g., inversion; and nipple discharge or bleeding. Because breast cancer is perceived by the majority of general public as a gender-specific condition, men often...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Further Reading

  1. Humphries, M. P., Sundara Rajan, S., Honarpisheh, H., Cserni, G., Dent, J., Fulford, L., Jordan, L. B., Jones, J. L., Kanthan, R., Litwiniuk, M., et al. (2017). Characterisation of male breast cancer: A descriptive biomarker study from a large patient series. Scientific Reports, 7, 45293.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Johansson, I., Nilsson, C., Berglund, P., Lauss, M., Ringner, M., Olsson, H., Luts, L., Sim, E., Thorstensson, S., Fjallskog, M. L., et al. (2012). Gene expression profiling of primary male breast cancers reveals two unique subgroups and identifies N-acetyltransferase-1 (NAT1) as a novel prognostic biomarker. Breast Cancer Research, 14, R31.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Kornegoor, R., Verschuur-Maes, A. H., Buerger, H., & van Diest, P. J. (2012). The 3-layered ductal epithelium in gynecomastia. The American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 36, 762–768.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Lecarpentier, J., Silvestri, V., Kuchenbaecker, K. B., Barrowdale, D., Dennis, J., McGuffog, L., Soucy, P., Leslie, G., Rizzolo, P., Navazio, A. S., et al. (2017). Prediction of breast and prostate cancer risks in male BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers using polygenic risk scores. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 35, 2240–2250.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Orr, N., Lemnrau, A., Cooke, R., Fletcher, O., Tomczyk, K., Jones, M., Johnson, N., Lord, C. J., Mitsopoulos, C., Zvelebil, M., et al. (2012). Genome-wide association study identifies a common variant in RAD51B associated with male breast cancer risk. Nature Genetics, 44, 1182–1184.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Piscuoglio, S., Ng, C. K., Murray, M. P., Guerini-Rocco, E., Martelotto, L. G., Geyer, F. C., Bidard, F. C., Berman, S., Fusco, N., Sakr, R. A., et al. (2016). The genomic landscape of male breast cancers. Clinical Cancer Research, 22, 4045–4056.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Shaaban, A. M., Ball, G. R., Brannan, R. A., Cserni, G., Di Benedetto, A., Dent, J., Fulford, L., Honarpisheh, H., Jordan, L., Jones, J. L., et al. (2012). A comparative biomarker study of 514 matched cases of male and female breast cancer reveals gender-specific biological differences. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 133, 949–958.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerie Speirs
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthew P. Humphries
    • 1
  • Abeer M. Shaaban
    • 2
  1. 1.Leeds Institute of Cancer and PathologyUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Department of Cellular PathologyQueen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and University of BirminghamBirminghamUK