The following is a summary of “Characteristics, treatment and outcomes of HER2 positive male breast cancer,” published in the MARCH 2023 issue of Surgery by Esposito, et al.

Male breast cancer is rare, accounting for less than 1% of all breast cancer cases. However, research on male breast cancer with HER2 overexpression is limited. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the characteristics, treatment, and outcomes of HER2-positive breast cancer in men.

The study obtained information from the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) Research Plus database from January 2010 through December 2017. The study included a total of 3,594 cases of male breast cancer, of which 462 were HER2 positive (13%).

Compared to HER2 negative patients, male patients with HER2 positive breast cancer were diagnosed at a younger age (63 vs 67 years, P < 0.001) and had more poorly differentiated cancer (Grade III 53% vs. 33%, P < 0.001) and larger tumor size (28.8 vs 24.6 mm, P < 0.001). In addition, the male patients with HER2-positive breast cancer also had a distant site and/or contralateral lymph node involvement more often (13% vs 7%, P < 0.001), had a higher rate of cancer-related mortality (15% vs 10%, P = 0.002), and shorter overall survival (34 vs 38 months, P = 0.004) despite increased utilization of systemic therapy.

The study found that male patients with HER2-positive breast cancer had more advanced disease at diagnosis and worse outcomes than HER2-negative men, despite increased systemic therapy utilization. This study highlights the importance of early detection and tailored management strategies for male patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.