Cancers arising in the male breast are uncommon. Male breast cancer is a hormone-driven disease that often expresses the estrogen receptor, and antiestrogen therapy represents the mainstay of treatment. Paradoxically, the advent of a wave of antiestrogens eclipsed the therapeutic potential of alternative ther- apeutic options. At the beginning of the hormonal therapy era the administration of antiandrogens to metastatic male breast cancer patients was proposed. Ever since the use of these compounds has largely been neglected. A therapeutic role for antiandrogens has been envisioned again in recent years. First, molecular characterization efforts pointed to the androgen receptor as a potential therapeutic target. Second, the development of aromatase inhibitors unexpectedly raised the need for neutralizing androgens in order to tackle endocrine feedback mechanisms responsible for acquired resistance. We herein provide an over- view of molecular studies where the androgen receptor was investigated at the genomic, transcriptomic or phenotypic level. We then discuss androgens in the context of the endocrine networks nourishing male breast cancer. Finally, clinical evidence on antiandrogens is summarized along with strategies should be implemented to improve the medical management of these patients.
- Male breast cancer Androgen receptor Androgens Anti-androgen therapy Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs