Background: It is
estimated that 2240 males in the United States will develop invasive breast
cancer (BC) in 2013, resulting in 410 deaths. Overall, male breast cancers
(MBCs) are diagnosed with larger tumor size, more frequent lymphatic invasion,
and advanced tumor stage compared to their female counterparts. Several risk
factors have been elucidated for the development of MBC, and this paper aims to
critically review the existing literature on at-risk populations and provide
screening recommendations. Methods: A comprehensive search for all published
studies on populations at risk for MBC using PubMed, EBSCOhost, and Google
Scholar was performed (1982- 2013). The search focused specifically on genetic
and epidemiologic risk factors, and screening for MBC. Keywords searched
included “male breast cancer risk factors”, “male breast cancer epidemiology”,
and “male breast cancer genetics”. A total of 34 studies involving 4,865,819
patients were identified. Results: Five studies (N = 327,667) focused primarily
on family history of breast cancer as a risk factor for MBC. 15% - 20% of men
with BC have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, and a family history
of BC among first-degree relatives confers a 2-to 3-fold increase in MBC risk
(odds ratio = 3.3). Seventeen studies (N = 5451) analyzed associations between
several heritable genes and MBC. Lifetime MBC risk among BRCA1 mutation
carriers is 1% - 5%, while MBC risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers is higher and
varies between 4% - 40%. Less clear associations between MBC and PALB2,
Androgen Receptor gene, CYP17, and CHEK2 mutations have also been documented.
Five studies (N = 16,667) have addressed occupational risk factors for MBC. An
8-fold increase in MBC is reported in males working in the cosmetic cream
manufacturing, and the motor vehicle industries. A meta-analysis of 18 trials
also identified electromagnetic field exposure as a potential MBC risk, though
causation remains undocumented. Eleven studies (N = 4,843,598) analyzed the
role of abnormalities in the androgen-to-estrogen ratio as a risk factor for
MBC. Conditions associated with increased MBC risk include Klinefelter’s
syndrome (relative risk, RR = 29.64), obesity (RR = 1.98),
orchitis/epididymitis (RR = 1.84), and gynecomastia (RR = 5.86). Conclusion:
Routine screening for MBC should be considered in all high risk male
populations, including those with a prior history of breast carcinoma, a strong
family history of BC
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