Table of Contents
ISRN Pathology
Volume 2013, Article ID 787495, 7 pages
Research Article

Molecular Biology of Breast Cancer in the Horn of Africa: Case Series—A Pilot Study of Breast Cancer from Eritrea

1Orotta School of Medicine and Dentistry, Department of Pathology, Asmara, Eritrea
2St. Mary’s Hospital, McGill University, Department of Pathology, Montreal, QC, Canada H3T 1M5

Received 12 March 2013; Accepted 4 May 2013

Academic Editors: E. E. Akang, A. Gocht, and A. Stringer

Copyright © 2013 Asmerom Tesfamariam and Indrojit Roy. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Recently, gene expression profiling and its surrogate immunohistochemistry (IHC) markers classified breast cancer into four distinct molecular subtypes, which have different prognoses, targeted therapies, and/or clinical outcomes. Objective. To conduct a preliminary study, to correlate the clinical pathological profiles and taxonomy of molecular subtypes of breast cancer in Eritrea, in the Horn of Africa. Design. Review of pathology reports from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2009, provided 22 cases of microscopically confirmed invasive breast carcinoma that were evaluable for histology and IHC (ER, PR, HER2, and Cytokeratin 5/6). Result. Twenty patients were female and most of them (68%) were under 50 years at presentation. 90% were invasive invasive carcinoma of no special type and were histological grade 3. The molecular subtypes were luminal A (55%), luminal B (5%), HER2 (5%), basal-like (10%), and unclassified (25%). Triple negative carcinoma (basal-like and unclassified combined) was 35%, mostly (71%) in women under 50 years with grade 3 tumours. Conclusion. Breast carcinoma in Eritrean women presents at a younger age and with a high histologic grade. The two predominant molecular subtypes are luminal A and triple negative. Determining the molecular subtype using surrogate IHC markers has important treatment and prognostic implications for Eritrean women with breast cancer.