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Acta Oncol. 2007;46(2):204-7.

Oestrogen and progesterone receptor status of individual foci in multifocal invasive ductal breast cancer.

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  • 1Cancer Biology Proteomics Group, Postgraduate Medical Institute, University of Hull, United Kingdom.


Widespread acceptance of breast conserving surgery for early breast cancer has led to renewed interest in multifocality, which is seen in 13-63% of breast cancers. According to current guidelines, oestrogen/progesterone receptor status is assessed on the sample obtained at initial core biopsy or the main tumour focus in multifocal breast cancer (more than one distinct tumour focus in a quadrant). We assessed receptor status of individual foci in multifocal breast cancer. Mastectomy specimens for 18 cases of multifocal breast cancer were identified. Immunohistochemical staining for oestrogen and progesterone receptors was performed on all tumour foci. On histological examination 11 patients demonstrated two independent tumour foci, three demonstrated three foci and four demonstrated four foci. Minor differences in oestrogen receptor score were seen between foci (attributed to the subjective nature of the scoring system), which did not affect the overall positive/negative classification. Sixteen patients (88%) were oestrogen receptor-positive. Progesterone receptor staining showed more variability between foci in two patients but, since the tumours were oestrogen receptor-positive this would not have affected clinical decision-making. No major differences in oestrogen receptor status between multiple tumour foci in the same quadrant were found in this pilot study.

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