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Breast cancer is a complex disease, and it is the most common cause of morbidity and mortality among women worldwide. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the clinical characteristics and tumor profiles of breast cancer are still unknown. In the present study we aimed to determine breast tumor profiles of the Rwandan patients in relation to age and tumor stages. We compare our findings to related results from other sub-Saharan Africa studies. Data on age at diagnosis, tumor stage, and hormonal profiles of 138 patients diagnosed between January 2015 and December 2018 were retrospectively retrieved from electronic medical records at three referral hospitals in Rwanda. We compared our results to related findings reported in other Sub-Saharan African countries. All statistical analyses were done using SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA, version 20 and R software languages. The mean age at diagnosis was 49.7 years (SD = 13) and ranged from 17 to 86 years. The majority of patients (57.2%) were diagnosed before 50 years of age compared with 42.8% aged > 50 years. Tumor stage III was the commonest accounting for 62% followed by stage II with 24.8%. The distribution of breast tumor subtypes was ER-, PR-, HER2-: 37.7%; ER+, PR+, HER2-: 31.2%; ER-, PR-, HER2+: 14.5%; ER+, PR+, HER2+: 5.1%; and other subtypes represented 11.6%. There was no statistically significant difference in age and tumor stages between the molecular subtypes. Our findings revealed the predominance of hormonal negative tumors among Rwandan patients with breast cancer. Triple negative was found to be the most common breast tumor subtype regardless of age and tumor stage. Larger prospective studies could examine genetics and environmental factors that may play a role in the differences of tumor characteristics in Sub-Saharan populations.


Jeanne P Uyisenga, Yvan Butera, Ahmed Debit, Claire Josse, Costas C Ainhoa, Emile Karinganire, Aimee P Cyuzuzo, Nicole Umurungi, Yves Kalinijabo, Simeon Uwimana, Leon Mutesa, Vincent Bours. Prevalence of Histological Characteristics of Breast Cancer in Rwanda in Relation to Age and Tumor Stages. Hormones & cancer. 2020 Oct;11(5-6):240-249

PMID: 32772262

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