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Receptor Status and Associated Clinico-Histopathological Characteristics among Women with Breast Cancer in a Ugandan Tertiary Hospital

Babalanda JNP1, Galukande M2, Jombwe JG1, Fualal JO1

  1. Department of Surgery, Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala, Uganada

  2. School of Medicine, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Correspondence to: Prof. Moses Galukande. P.O. Box 7072 Kampala, Uganda. Email:


Background: The breast cancer landscape in Uganda is characterized by late disease and poor outcomes. Even though receptor status is an important prognostic factor, it is not routinely conducted in the country. This study was set to describe the oestrogen receptors (ER) status and associated clinico-histopathological features of breast cancer among women in Uganda. Method: A cross sectional descriptive study, carried out among women with histologically confirmed breast cancer, recruited at the Mulago Hospital breast clinic and determined their receptor status determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC), which was preceded by H&E staining. Results: In total 114 women were enrolled over a 5 months period. Mean age was 47years (13-87), half (50%) of the women had advanced disease (T4 tumours), 48/114 (42%) presented more than 12 months after onset of symptoms and most had poorly differentiated (grade III) invasive ductal carcinomas, 61/114 (53%) and 50/114 (44%) were ER- negative tumours. Conclusion: Breast cancer is common among young African premenopausal women, it presents mostly as T4 tumours and close to half are ER negative. This is an over representation of ER negative tumours.

Key Words: Breast cancer, Advanced stage, Hormonal receptor status, Triple negative breast cancer

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Globally, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed life threatening cancer and leading cause of cancer death among women (1). In Uganda, breast cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer after Kaposi’s sarcoma and cancer of the cervix with a peak age of 30-39 years (2). It is increasing rapidly at a rate of 4.5% per year tripling from 11:100,000 to 31:100,000 in four decades (3). Breast cancer prevalence is known to vary with age, race, and ethnicity being more co