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Br J Cancer. 1998 Aug; 78(3): 360–365.
PMCID: PMC2063031

Prostate-specific antigen and gross cystic disease fluid protein-15 are co-expressed in androgen receptor-positive breast tumours.


Androgens regulate breast cancer cell proliferation via androgen receptor (AR)-mediated mechanisms. To investigate further the androgen-responsiveness of human breast tumours, we examined the immunohistochemical expression of the AR and two androgen-regulated proteins, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and gross cystic disease fluid protein-15 (GCDFP-15), in 72 primary breast tumours. AR immunoreactivity was present in the nuclei of breast tumour cells and was correlated with oestrogen receptor (ER; P < 0.05) and progesterone receptor (PR; P < 0.01) status. PSA and GCDFP-15 immunoreactivity was present in the cytoplasm of tumour cells but not the adjacent stromal cells. AR-positive cells were present in 85% (61/72) of breast tumours, and 98% (43/44) of PSA-positive and 92% (44/48) of GCDFP-15-positive tumours were also positive for AR. Positive immunoreactivity for both PSA and GCDFP-15 in breast tumours was highly dependent on AR status (odds ratios of 24.0 and 4.5 respectively), but unrelated to age, ER and PR status and axillary lymph node involvement. PSA immunoreactivity was more frequently observed in moderate and well-differentiated tumours and was significantly (P < 0.001) associated with GCDFP-15 immunoreactivity. In conclusion, PSA and GCDFP-15 immunoreactivity was dependent on the presence of AR, but not ER or PR in primary breast tumours.

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