Clinicopathological Characteristics and Prognosis of Triple-Negative Apocrine Carcinoma: A Case-Control Study

Chiho Suzuki, Akimitsu Yamada, Kei Kawashima, Mahato Sasamoto, Yoshie Fujiwara, Shoko Adachi, Masanori Oshi, Tomoko Wada, Shinya Yamamoto, Kazuhiro Shimada, Ikuko Ota, Kazutaka Narui, Sadatoshi Sugae, Daisuke Shimizu, Mikiko Tanabe, Takashi Chishima, Yasushi Ichikawa, Takashi Ishikawa, Itaru Endo


Background: With a prevalence of only 1% among all breast cancers in Japan, apocrine carcinoma (AC) is a rare type of breast cancer, and its clinicopathological characteristics remain unclear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the characteristics and prognosis of AC, in relation to the presence or absence of androgen receptor (AR).

Methods: We conducted a retrospective multi-center case-control study (Yokohama Clinical Oncology Group (YCOG): YCOG1701 study) in Japan. A total of 53 patients were registered who were diagnosed with AC between 2000 and 2017 in YCOG-affiliated hospitals.

Results: The median age of the patients was 67 (43 - 94) years, and the median observation time was 6.1 years. Among the 53 cases, 24 had triple-negative pure AC (TN-PAC; AR-positive), whereas 29 had other types of AC (other-AC; estrogen receptor-positive and/or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive or AR-negative). Tumor size was smaller (1.4 vs. 2.1 cm, P = 0.024) and metastasis occurred in fewer nodes (12.5% vs. 37.9%, P = 0.036) in the TN-PAC group than in the other-AC group. The number of patients who were administered perioperative adjuvant chemotherapy did not significantly differ between the two groups (TN-PAC/other-AC = 50.0%/55.2%, P = 0.525); however, there was no recurrence in the TN-PAC group, compared to five cases with relapse in the other-AC group.

Conclusions: AR-positive AC patients showed a favorable prognosis without adjuvant chemotherapy, even with the TN subtype. A clinical trial exploring the possibility of treatment de-escalation is anticipated.

World J Oncol. 2023;14(6):551-557


Breast cancer; Triple-negative apocrine carcinoma; Androgen receptor

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