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Breast lesions and cancer: histopathology and molecular classification in a referral hospital in Ghana

N. A. Titiloye
K. Bedu-Addo
E. Atta Manu
C. Ameh-Mensah
F. Opoku
B. M. Duduyemi


Background: Histological diagnosis is crucial to the management of breast diseases. It determines the kind of disease, the treatment modalities, and the outcome of management. Our department receives breast biopsies from the northern sector of Ghana constituting over 50% of the Ghanaian population. This study aimed at elucidating the pattern of disease and associated traditional prognostic indices of breast cases in our department over a period of 9 years.
Methods: Information on the demographic characteristics and the histological diagnoses made on all breast cases received and processed in the department were accessed and entered into an Excel spreadsheet. Slides were reviewed and IHC was done on suitable cases. Descriptive statistics were generated using IMB-SPSS version 23.
Results: A total of 4276 breast cases were received by the department within the study period, with 97.6% being female. Age ranged (female/male) from 10 to 98/13 to 102 years, with mean ages of 38.2 years (SD ± 16.7) and 41.15 years (SD ± 21.6), respectively. Cases were evenly distributed in both left and right breasts and 4.3% were bilateral. Inflammatory conditions were seen in 7.5% of cases. The most diagnosed benign tumor was fibroadenoma (54%), followed by fibrocystic change (8.1%). Gynecomastia was diagnosed in 66.3% of males. Malignant cases were 38.6%, with invasive carcinoma NST being the most frequent (87.5%). Histological grades were I = 9.4%, II = 41.6%, and III = 49%. Molecular subtypes were luminal A (19.8%), luminal B (9.9%), Her2 (16%), and TNBC (54.3%).
Conclusion: Our findings show an increase in breast cancer cases compared to previous studies in our center, suggesting increased awareness and improved diagnosis. However, this increase is consistent with most studies in sub-Saharan Africa.