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Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Aug 1;12(15):4614-8.

High progesterone receptor expression correlates to the effect of adjuvant tamoxifen in premenopausal breast cancer patients.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Pathology, Malmö University Hospital, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Tamoxifen has long been the drug of choice in adjuvant endocrine therapy of steroid hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, and it still remains important due to its well-documented beneficial effect. Hormone receptor status is often reported as "positive" or "negative" using 10% positive nuclei as a cutoff. In this study, we aimed to assess whether a further subclassification of hormone receptor status could enhance the treatment predictive value.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:

The immunohistochemical expression of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) was quantified in tissue microarrays with tumors from 500 premenopausal breast cancer patients previously included in a randomized trial of adjuvant tamoxifen compared with an untreated control group.

RESULTS:

Our findings show a gradually increasing tamoxifen effect in tumors with >10% ER-positive nuclei. However, when analyzing tamoxifen response according to various PR fractions, we found that it was primarily patients with tumors showing >75% PR-positive nuclei that responded to tamoxifen treatment, with an improved recurrence-free [relative risk, 0.42 (0.25-0.70); P = 0.001] as well as overall [relative risk, 0.49 (0.28-0.84); P = 0.010] survival.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adjuvant tamoxifen improved recurrence-free and overall survival for premenopausal patients with tumors showing >75% PR-positive nuclei. No effect could be shown in tumors with fewer PR-positive nuclei. The PR was a stronger predictor of treatment response than the ER. Based on these findings, we suggest the implementation of a fractioned rather than dichotomized immunohistochemical evaluation of hormone receptors in clinical practice, possibly with greater emphasis on the PR than the ER.

PMID:
16899609
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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