Metastatic breast cancer in Kenya: survival, prognosis and management at a tertiary referral centre

Mwongeli Matheka, Miriam Mutebi, Shahin Sayed, Jasmit Shah, Asim Jamal Shaikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been an increase in breast cancer in Africa with up to 77% of patients diagnosed with advanced disease. However, there is little data on survival outcomes and prognostic factors affecting survival in patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in Africa. The study objective was to establish the survival of patients with MBC at a single tertiary health facility, the clinical and pathological characteristics affecting survival and describe the treatment modalities used. This was a retrospective descriptive study conducted at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi of patients diagnosed with MBC between 2009 and 2017. Survival data was collected on metastatic free survival, survival time between diagnosis of first metastasis and death and overall survival. Data on patient's age, menopausal status and stage at diagnosis, tumour grade, receptor status, site of metastasis and treatment given was also collected. The Kaplan-Meier Estimator was used to estimate survival. Prognostic factors for survival outcomes were analysed using univariate analysis. Standard descriptive statistics were used to describe patient characteristics. A total of 131 patients were included in the study. The median survival was 22 months. The 3 and 5-year survivals were 31.3% and 10.7%, respectively. On univariate analysis, the Luminal A molecular subtype was a significant positive prognostic factor hazard ratios (HR 0.652 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.473-0.899) while metastasis to the liver or brain were significant negative prognostic factors (HR 0.615 95% CI 0.413-0.915 and HR 0.566 95% CI 0.330-0.973, respectively). A large proportion (87.0%) received some treatment for metastatic disease. Our study concluded that survival rates for patients diagnosed with MBC were lower compared to studies from Western countries but higher than in studies from Sub-Saharan Africa. Luminal A molecular subtype was found to be a positive prognostic factor and metastasis to the liver or brain were found to be negative prognostic factors. Improved access to adequate treatment for MBC is required in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1566
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • breast neoplasms
  • metastasis
  • survival rate


Dive into the research topics of 'Metastatic breast cancer in Kenya: survival, prognosis and management at a tertiary referral centre'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this