Study of the causes of breast cancer in men

Although breast cancer is much less common in men than women, about 350 men are diagnosed with this disease every year in the UK.

The design of the Generations study is not suitable to find the causes of breast cancer in men (it would need to include millions of men to be able to do so), so we are studying the causes of breast cancer in men using a different method.  The design of the study is one in which we have been approaching men who have had breast cancer and a group of men of the same ages who have not had breast cancer, and asking  each for questionnaire information and to give a blood sample.

The study is funded by Breast Cancer Now and has been running for over 10 years. It is now much the largest study anywhere in the world on the causation of breast cancer in men. It is intended to contribute to finding the causes of breast cancer in men, but should also give some information of value for women too.

The study is now starting to produce results, and will continue to do so for several years; the publications are listed below.


Orr N, Cooke R, Jones M, Fletcher O, Dudbridge F, Chilcott-Burns S, Tomczyk K, Broderick P, Houlston R, Ashworth A, Swerdlow A. Genetic variants at chromosomes 2q35, 5p12, 6q25.1, 10q26.13 and 16q12.1 influence the risk of breast cancer in men. PLoS Genet. 2011; 7(9): e1002290PubMed PMID: 21949660


Orr N, Lemnrau A, Cooke R, Fletcher O, et al. Genome-wide association study identifies a novel variant in RAD51B that is associated with risk of male breast cancer. Nat Genet. 2012;44:1182-4. PubMed PMID:  23001122


Jacobs PA, Maloney V, Cooke R, Crolla JA, Ashworth A, Swerdlow AJ. Male breast cancer, age and sex chromosome aneuploidy. Br J Cancer. 2013;108:2399-406.PubMed PMID: 23299533


Brinton LA, Cook MB, McCormack V, et al. Anthropometric and Hormonal Risk Factors for Male Breast Cancer: Male Breast Cancer Pooling Project Results. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014; 106:djt465. PubMed PMID:24552677                                      

Cook MB, Guenel P, Gapstur SM et al. Tobacco and Alcohol in Relation to Male Breast Cancer: An Analysis of the Male Breast Cancer Pooling Project Consortium. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014; 24(3):520-31. PubMed PMID: 25515550