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Br J Cancer. Oct 1996; 74(8): 1175–1180.
PMCID: PMC2075941

Expression of the androgen receptor and an androgen-responsive protein, apolipoprotein D, in human breast cancer.

Abstract

Little is known regarding the activity and function of the androgen receptor (AR) in human breast cancer. In the present study AR was evaluated in untreated primary breast cancers using antisera to the amino- and carboxy-termini of the receptor and quantitated using colour video image analysis. A strong correlation between tissue concentration and percentage AR-positive cells was observed for each antiserum. However, comparison of percentage positive cells using the amino- and carboxy-terminal AR antisera in individual breast cancer specimens revealed a subset of tumours with discordantly increased staining for the carboxy terminus. These findings suggest the presence of amino-terminal-truncated AR in a proportion of breast cancer cells or presence of AR mutations or associated protein alterations that affect binding of the amino-terminal AR antiserum. Immunohistochemical expression of the androgen-regulated glycoprotein, apolipoprotein D (apo-D), was also evaluated in the breast cancer specimens. Focal positivity of apo-D staining, which did not always co-localise with AR-positive cells, was observed within breast tumours. Furthermore, no correlation was evident between percentage positive cells stained for AR and apo-D in breast cancer specimens. These findings indicate that, although apo-D expression is androgen regulated in human breast cancer cell lines in vitro, its expression in primary breast cancers may be regulated by other factors. The expression of AR in primary breast cancers also suggests that the receptor may be involved in tumour responsiveness or in abnormal responses to endocrine therapies.

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Selected References

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