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Table 1 Different subtypes of early and advanced breast cancer according to the selected guidelines (7, 8)

From: Essential medicines for breast cancer in low and middle income countries

Type of breast cancer Subtypes Descriptions
Early breast cancer Luminal A HR+;HER2-; Ki-67 low
Luminal B HR+;HER2-; Ki-67 high
Non luminal HR+;HER2+; Ki-67 low
Triple negative (ductal) HR absent; HER2 absent
Special histological types HER2 absent; endocrine responsive or non-responsive
Advanced breast cancer†† HR +/HER2-  
  1. HR+ = ER and/or PR positive tumor, HR- = ER and/or PR negative tumor, HER2 human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 oncogene, HER2+ = HER2 over expressed or amplified, HER2- = not HER2+, Ki-67 a marker of cell proliferation
  2. Early breast cancer: Breast cancer that has not spread beyond the breast or the axillary lymph nodes. This includes ductal carcinoma in situ and stage I, stage IIA, stage IIB, and stage IIIA breast cancers. (Reference: National Cancer Institute;
  3. ††Advanced breast cancer: Breast cancer that has spread locally in the area of the breast (locally advanced breast cancer) or to distant organs and tissues (metastatic breast cancer), it includes: •Stage III: the cancer has either extensively spread to lymph nodes and/or other tissue in the area of the breast, but not to distant sites in the body •Stage IV: the cancer has spread to distant sites of the body, such as the liver, lungs, bones, brain, and/or other sites (Reference: advanced breast cancer community;
  4. †,††: Early breast cancer is classified based on clinicopathological criteria namely detection of the estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, over expression or amplification of the HER2 oncogene and Ki-67 labeling index (a marker of cell proliferation). Advanced breast cancer is classified in a similar way except for the Ki-67 labeling index which has no role in this classification
  5. (Reference: a) Goldhirsch A, et al. Ann Oncol 2011 Aug;22(8):1736–1747. b) Cardoso F, et al. Breast 2012 Jun;21(3):242–252.)