From 1988 to 2017, there were no significant improvements in breast cancer-specific survival for men with breast cancer in the United States, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The men studied did have an improvement in overall survival over time, but that is consistent with increasing life expectancy, according to researchers. 

The researchers analyzed data from 8481 men with invasive breast cancer enrolled in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry during 3 time periods: 1988-1997, 1998-2007, and 2008-2017.

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The median age at baseline was 68 years across all 3 cohorts. Most patients (92.9%) had ductal carcinomas. Patients were more commonly diagnosed with stage I (32.1%) or stage II (41.8%) breast cancer than stage III (17.9%) or stage IV (8.2%) disease. 

Among patients with known status, 95.5% had estrogen receptor-positive disease, 86.34% had progesterone receptor-positive disease, and 12.83% had HER2-positive disease (12.83%). 

The 5-year breast cancer-specific survival rate was similar across the 3 time periods — 83.69% for 1988-1997, 83.78% for 1988-2007, and 84.41% for 2008-2017 (P =.86). 

On the other hand, overall survival improved over time. The 5-year overall survival rate was 64.61% in 1988-1997, 67.31% in 1998-2007, and 69.05% in 2008-2017 (P =.01).

With each additional year, there was a significant improvement in overall survival (hazard ratio, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.98-0.99; P =.009) but not breast cancer-specific survival (hazard ratio, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.99-1.01; P =.75). 

“We observed no improvement in BCSS [breast cancer-specific survival] in men over the last three decades,” the researchers concluded. “Our findings support the need for additional research in male breast cancer to improve BCSS.”

Disclosures: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


Leone JP, Freedman RA, Leone J, et al. Survival in male breast cancer over the past three decades. J Natl Cancer Inst. Published online December 30, 2022. doi:10.1093/jnci/djac241