Open Access Peer-reviewed Research Article

Breast carcinoma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Characterization of hormone receptors

Main Article Content

Guy Ilunga Nday
Manix Banza Ilunga
Anasthasie Umpungu Ngalula
Olivier Mukuku corresponding author
Jules Thaba Ngwe


Purpose: Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease, and understanding its characteristics is crucial for effective treatment. Therefore, this study aims to investigate breast carcinomas as a function of hormone receptors (estrogen and progesterone) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which can contribute to better management of breast cancer cases in the country.
Methods: We conducted an analytical cross-sectional study from 2014 to 2016 in the cities of Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Using non-random sampling, we collected 86 cases of breast carcinoma.
Results: The study found that out of the 86 cases of breast carcinoma, 33 patients (38.3%) had both types of hormone receptors (ER+/PgR+), while 37 patients (43.0%) had negative results for both receptor types (ER-/PgR-). Additionally, 15 patients (17.4%) had only estrogen receptors. The study did not find any significant association between the presence of estrogen receptors and patient age, T stage, histological type, and Ki67 proliferation index. However, the study did observe that estrogen receptors were significantly more present in grade I and II tumors (74.4%) than in grade III tumors (40.4%) (Odds ratio=4.3 [1.7-10.8]; p=0.003).
Conclusion: The findings of this study demonstrate a high prevalence of hormone receptors in breast cancer cases in the DRC. Additionally, the study revealed a significant association between the presence of estrogen receptors and tumor grade, underlining the relevance of these markers in the characterization and treatment of the disease.

carcinoma, breast cancer, hormone receptors

Article Details

How to Cite
Nday, G. I., Ilunga, M. B., Ngalula, A. U., Mukuku, O., & Ngwe, J. T. (2024). Breast carcinoma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Characterization of hormone receptors. Current Cancer Reports, 5(1), 187-192.


  1. Sung H, Ferlay J, Siegel RL, et al. Global Cancer Statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN Estimates of Incidence and Mortality Worldwide for 36 Cancers in 185 Countries. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2021, 71(3): 209-249.
  2. Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group. Effects of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy for early breast cancer on recurrence and 15-year survival: an overview of the randomised trials. The Lancet. 2005, 365(9472): 1687-1717.
  3. Weigelt B, Horlings H, Kreike B, et al. Refinement of breast cancer classification by molecular characterization of histological special types. The Journal of Pathology. 2008, 216(2): 141-150.
  4. Han Y, Wang J, Xu B. Clinicopathological characteristics and prognosis of breast cancer with special histological types: A surveillance, epidemiology, and end results database analysis. The Breast. 2020, 54: 114-120.
  5. Hugh J, Hanson J, Cheang MCU, et al. Breast Cancer Subtypes and Response to Docetaxel in Node-Positive Breast Cancer: Use of an Immunohistochemical Definition in the BCIRG 001 Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2009, 27(8): 1168-1176.
  6. Adani-Ifè A, Amégbor K, Doh K, et al. Breast cancer in togolese women: immunohistochemistry subtypes. BMC Women’s Health. 2020, 20(1).
  7. Maseb’a Mwang Sulu S, Batalansi DB, Sulu AMS, et al. Immunohistochemical Features of Breast Cancer Seen in Women in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo: A Six-Year Retrospective Study. Singh A, ed. International Journal of Breast Cancer. 2022, 2022: 1-6.
  8. Sulu SMAM, Mukuku O, Wembonyama SO. Breast cancer in women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Current state of knowledge. Current Cancer Reports. 2022, 4(1): 128-132.
  9. Obiorah I, Jordan VC. Progress in endocrine approaches to the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Maturitas. 2011, 70(4): 315-321.
  10. Hopp TA, Weiss HL, Hilsenbeck SG, et al. Breast Cancer Patients with Progesterone Receptor PR-A-Rich Tumors Have Poorer Disease-Free Survival Rates. Clinical Cancer Research. 2004, 10(8): 2751-2760.
  11. Tolza C. Fra-1 et Fra-2 dans les cancers du sein triple négatifs: mécanismes transcriptionnels et identification de cibles thérapeutiques potentielles (Doctoral dissertation, Université Montpellier), 2016.
  12. Hefti MM, Hu R, Knoblauch NW, et al. Estrogen receptor negative/progesterone receptor positive breast cancer is not a reproducible subtype. Breast Cancer Research. 2013, 15(4).
  13. Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG). Relevance of breast cancer hormone receptors and other factors to the efficacy of adjuvant tamoxifen: patient-level meta-analysis of randomised trials. The Lancet. 2011, 378(9793): 771-784.
  14. Davies C, Pan H, Godwin J, et al. Long-term effects of continuing adjuvant tamoxifen to 10 years versus stopping at 5 years after diagnosis of oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer: ATLAS, a randomised trial. The Lancet. 2013, 381(9869): 805-816.
  15. Hadgu E, Seifu D, Tigneh W, et al. Breast cancer in Ethiopia: evidence for geographic difference in the distribution of molecular subtypes in Africa. BMC Women’s Health. 2018, 18(1).
  16. Sayed S, Moloo Z, Wasike R, et al. Is breast cancer from Sub Saharan Africa truly receptor poor? Prevalence of ER/PR/HER2 in breast cancer from Kenya. The Breast. 2014, 23(5): 591-596.
  17. Kantelhardt EJ, Mathewos A, Aynalem A, et al. The prevalence of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer in Ethiopia. BMC Cancer. 2014, 14(1).
  18. Effi AB, Aman NA, Koui BS, et al. Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes Defined by ER/PR and HER2 Status: Association with Clinicopathologic Parameters in Ivorian Patients. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2016, 17(4): 1973-1978.
  19. Eng A, McCormack V, dos-Santos-Silva I. Receptor-Defined Subtypes of Breast Cancer in Indigenous Populations in Africa: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Adami HO, ed. PLoS Medicine. 2014, 11(9): e1001720.
  20. Ly M, Antoine M, Dembélé AK, et al. High Incidence of Triple-Negative Tumors in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Prospective Study of Breast Cancer Characteristics and Risk Factors in Malian Women Seen in a Bamako University Hospital. Oncology. 2012, 83(5): 257-263.
  21. McCormack VA, Joffe M, van den Berg E, et al. Breast cancer receptor status and stage at diagnosis in over 1,200 consecutive public hospital patients in Soweto, South Africa: a case series. Breast Cancer Research. 2013, 15(5).
  22. Carey LA, Perou CM, Livasy CA, et al. Race, Breast Cancer Subtypes, and Survival in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study. JAMA. 2006, 295(21): 2492.
  23. Zhu X, Ying J, Wang F, et al. Estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 status in invasive breast cancer: a 3,198 cases study at National Cancer Center, China. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 2014, 147(3): 551-555.
  24. Kakarala M, Rozek L, Cote M, et al. Breast cancer histology and receptor status characterization in Asian Indian and Pakistani women in the U.S. - a SEER analysis. BMC Cancer. 2010, 10(1).
  25. Figueiredo JC, Ennis M, Knight JA, et al. Influence of young age at diagnosis and family history of breast or ovarian cancer on breast cancer outcomes in a population-based cohort study. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 2006, 105(1): 69-80.
  26. Mallol N, Desandes E, Lesur-Schwander A, et al. Disease-specific and event-free survival in breast cancer patients: a hospital-based study between 1990 and 2001. Revue d’Épidémiologie et de Santé Publique. 2006, 54(4): 313-325.
  27. Galant C, Berlière M, Leconte I, et al. Nouveautés dans les facteurs histopronostiques des cancers du sein. Imagerie de la Femme. 2010, 20(1): 9-17.
  28. Sengal AT, Haj-Mukhtar NS, Elhaj AM, et al. Immunohistochemistry defined subtypes of breast cancer in 678 Sudanese and Eritrean women, hospitals based case series. BMC Cancer. 2017, 17(1).
  29. Ihemelandu CU, Leffall LD, Dewitty RL, et al. Molecular Breast Cancer Subtypes in Premenopausal and Postmenopausal African-American Women: Age-Specific Prevalence and Survival. Journal of Surgical Research. 2007, 143(1): 109-118.
  30. Kim MY, Choi N. Mammographic and ultrasonographic features of triple-negative breast cancer: a comparison with other breast cancer subtypes. Acta Radiologica. 2013, 54(8): 889-894.
  31. Qinghong Q, Fangfang G, Wei J, et al. Effect of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on expressions of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, and Ki-67 in breast cancer. Chinese Medical Journal. 2014, 127(18): 3272-3277.