Triple negative breast cancer in a poor resource setting in North-Western Tanzania: A preliminary study of 52 patients

Peter Rambau, Nestory Masalu, Kahima Jackson, Philipo Chalya, Patrizia Serra, Sara Bravaccini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Breast cancer is the second leading cancer worldwide. In Tanzania, though it ranks as the second leading cancer in women after cervical cancer, hormonal receptor status is not carried out routinely in patients. Adjuvant hormonal therapy is given without prior knowledge of hormonal receptors status and patients can incur unnecessary costs and side effects. This study was performed to investigate the expression of hormonal receptors, epidermal growth factor receptors (HER-2) and proliferation index of the breast cancer by Ki-67 in a few selected patients with breast cancer at referral hospital in North-Western Tanzania. The study classified breast cancer subtypes based on hormonal receptors status and the expression of epidermal growth factor receptors. Results: A total of 52 cases of breast cancer were investigated. Patients' mean age at diagnosis was 49 years. The majority of the tumors was invasive ductal carcinoma 47 (90.4%) and 40 (76.9%) were of histological grade III. Thirty-eight (73.1%) of the patient had lymph node metastasis at the time of diagnosis and 36 (69.2%) were at clinical stage III. Only 3 (5.8%) patients were in clinical stage I. There was a tendency of a low level of expression of the receptors, whereby Estrogen Receptor (ER) positive tumors were 17 (32.7%), progesterone receptor (PR) positive tumors were 22 (42.3%), and HER-2 positive tumors were 12 (23.1%). Triple negative tumors constituted 20 (38.4%) of the patients. Most of the tumors (75%) showed high proliferation by Ki-67. Lymph node metastasis was more common in Triple Negative and HER enriched tumors. Conclusion: This study showed a tendency for a low level of expression of hormonal receptors. There was a significant proportion of Triple Negative breast cancers. Routine testing for hormonal receptors in breast cancer is recommended before the initiation of adjuvant hormonal therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number399
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 26 2014


  • Brest cancer
  • North-Western Tanzania
  • Triple negative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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