BACKGROUND: Breast cancer remains the most common malignancy among the Iraqi population. Affected patients exhibit different clinical behaviours according to the molecular subtypes of the tumour.
AIM: To identify the clinical and pathological presentations of the Iraqi breast cancer subtypes identified by Estrogen receptors (ER), Progesterone receptors (PR) and HER2 expressions.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: The present study comprised 486 Iraqi female patients diagnosed with breast cancer. ER, PR and HER2 contents of the primary tumours were assessed through immunohistochemical
staining; classifying the patients into five different groups: Triple Negative (ER/PR negative/HER2 negative), Triple Positive (ER/PR positive/HER2 positive), Luminal A (ER/PR positive/HER2 negative), HER2 enriched ((ER/PR negative/HER2 positive) and all other subtypes.
RESULTS: The major registered subtype was the Luminal A which was encountered in 230 patients (47.3%), followed by the Triple Negative (14.6%), Triple Positive (13.6%) and HER2 Enriched (11.5%). Patients exhibiting the Triple Negative subtype were significantly younger than the rest of the groups and presented with larger size tumours. A significant difference in the distribution of the breast cancer stages was displayed (p < 0.05); the most advanced were noted among those with HER2 enriched tumours who exhibited the highest frequency of poorly differentiated carcinomas and lymph node involvement.
CONCLUSION: The most significant variations in the clinicopathological presentations were observed in the age and clinical stage of the patients at diagnosis. Adoption of breast cancer molecular subtype classification in countries with limited resources could serve as a valuable prognostic marker in the management of aggressive forms of the disease.