Androgen receptor and antiandrogen therapy in male breast cancer

Luigi Di Lauro, Maddalena Barba, Laura Pizzuti, Patrizia Vici, Domenico Sergi, Anna Di Benedetto, Marcella Mottolese, Valerie Speirs, Daniele Santini, Ruggero De Maria, Marcello Maugeri-Saccà

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


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 therapeutic 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 overview 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-25
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1
Early online date11 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Breast Neoplasms, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Signal Transduction
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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