Hormone receptor expression in male breast cancers

  • AB Akosa
  • S Van Norden
  • Y Tettey


Male breast cancers are rare but have been found in higher proportions in Black Africans. Prognostic factors for breast cancers include tumour size, grade and stage, and hormone receptor status. The hormone receptor status is an invaluable guide in the use of adjuvant endocrine therapy, but none of the reports available in the literature from Africa showed any receptor work. This study was conducted to determine the grade, lymph node status and hormone receptor status of male breast cancers in Ghana. Nine archival cases of male breast cancers from the Pathology Department of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital were selected and studied on the basis of the presence of enough material for immunocytochemistry. Haematoxylin and Eosin (H & E) stained slides were reviewed and graded by Bloom and Richardson's criteria. Lymph node status was also assessed and sections were stained for oestrogen and progesterone receptors. Seven of the nine tumours were invasive ductal carcinomas and six of these were grade II, and one was grade III. Four cases had axillary lymph nodes removed at surgery and three were positive for metastases. Six (66%) of the cases were positive for oestrogen receptors with an H score ranging from 20 to 300. Using the criteria of McCarty et al, positivity for oestrogen receptor was reduced to 44%, which is lower than for Caucasians. We believe that this may be explained by the fact that in Ghana male breast cancers are seen a decade earlier. Only two cases were positive for progesterone receptor with an H score of 10 and 75. The two cases positive for progesterone receptors were also positive for oestrogen receptors. It is concluded that hormone receptor study is important in deciding on endocrine and adjuvant chemotherapy in male breast cancers and should be done routinely to help surgeons plan postoperative management of these patients. We recommend further research in this area.

Keywords: cancer, breast cancer, male breast cancer, cancer prognostic indices, oestrogen receptor, progesterone receptor

Ghana Medical Journal Vol. 39(1) 2005: 14-18

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0016-9560