A Rare Case of Triple Positive Inflammatory Breast Cancer in An Elderly Male

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BACKGROUND: An 84-year-old male presented with a rapidly growing left breast mass associated with warmth, erythema, and serous discharge from left nipple for 2.5 months. Physical exam revealed ‘peau d’orange’ appearance of skin and a 3×7 cm, firm, irregular, fixed mass in left breast. Core needle biopsy of left breast revealed invasive ductal carcinoma and a computed tomography scan of chest showed multiple small pulmonary nodules. Patient was diagnosed with inflammatory breast carcinoma (Stage IV, cT4d cN1 cM1), ER/ PR positive, HER-2 positive. BRCA testing was negative. After a normal MUGA scan, patient was started on weekly paclitaxel and trastuzumab. After 4 cycles patient developed diarrhea and elected to stop paclitaxel. After 10 cycles of trastuzumab, patient developed signs of heart failure and a MUGA showed depressed left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). Trastuzumab was held and patient was started on tamoxifen. Patient had progression of primary mass into a fungating lesion and evidence of new pulmonary metastatic disease on tamoxifen. The primary lesion was treated with palliative radiation and after a subsequent MUGA scan showed normalization of LVEF; trastuzumab was resumed. Patient had stable disease on trastuzumab and continued to follow with oncology.

DISCUSSION: Male breast cancer is < 1% of all breast cancer but incidence is rising in the US. Risk factors include family history, BRCA2 > BRCA1, obesity, cirrhosis, and radiation exposure. Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rapidly progressive malignancy with a clinicopathological diagnosis. There are paucity of data of IBC in men due to rarity of the disease. Many patients initially are misdiagnosed with mastitis, unresponsive to antibiotics. At diagnosis, most patients have a higher age compared with females (by 5-10 years), and advanced stage, though have a similar prognosis by stage. Prognostic factors and treatment principles are same as females with multimodal approach of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy.

CONCLUSIONS: IBC in men is very rare and awareness of its risk factors and presentation can lead to early diagnosis and better survival. Urgent referral to oncology is needed if index of suspicion is high. Further research is needed for defining best treatment modalities in elderly males.”

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