Fibrotic focus is a scar-like lesion near the center of a carcinoma and has been associated with high-grade, lymph node metastases and poor survival in female breast cancers. Hypoxia is suggested to be the crucial link between fibrotic focus and aggressive tumor phenotype and is also itself a poor prognostic marker. We here set out to study fibrotic focus and hypoxia in male breast cancer for the first time. In a group of 134 male breast cancer patients, the presence and size of a fibrotic focus and the expression of three hypoxia-related immunohistochemical stainings, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, carbonic anhydrase IX and Glut-1 were studied in correlation with clinicopathological features and prognosis. Fibrotic focus was seen in 25% of the male breast cancer cases and was correlated with hypoxia-inducible factor-1α overexpression (P=0.023), high grade (P=0.005), high mitotic activity (P=0.005) and lymph node metastases (P=0.037). Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α-positive tumors were more often high grade (P=0.003) and HER2 amplified (P=0.005). Glut-1 expression was also more common in grade 3 tumors (P=0.038), but no association between carbonic anhydrase IX and any clinicopathological feature was found. Fibrotic focus >8 mm and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α overexpression were correlated with decreased patients outcome (P=0.035 and 0.008, respectively). Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α overexpression was an independent and the most powerful predictor of survival in multivariate analysis (P=0.029; hazard ratio 2.5). In conclusion, the presence of a fibrotic focus is associated with hypoxia-inducible factor-1α overexpression, and both are associated with aggressive tumor phenotype and poor survival in male breast cancer. These markers seem to have similar clinical importance as previously reported in female breast cancer.
- fibrotic focus
- male breast cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine