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Hum Pathol. 2008 Mar;39(3):386-92. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2007.07.007. Epub 2008 Jan 9.

Lack of expression of androgen receptor may play a critical role in transformation from in situ to invasive basal subtype of high-grade ductal carcinoma of the breast.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


Androgen receptor has been implicated in the pathogenesis of breast carcinoma. In this study, we explored the potential role of androgen receptor in breast cancer by analyzing its expression using immunohistochemistry and its relationship with tumor progress (ductal carcinoma in situ [DCIS] versus invasive ductal carcinoma [IDC]); nuclear grades (high grade [HG] versus non-high grade); expression of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), HER-2; and 3 molecular classifications: cytokeratin classification, triple (ER/PR/HER-2) negative classification, and ER/HER-2 classification in 184 breast carcinomas. We found that (1) lack of androgen receptor expression was associated with HG-IDC and with basal subtypes of HG-IDC, suggesting androgen receptor may play an important role in preventing the invasive transformation in this subgroup of breast carcinoma. (2) HG-IDC and HG-DCIS more frequently expressed androgen receptor than ER (55%-93% for androgen receptor and 18%-30% for ER) and were frequently androgen receptor+/ER- (63% for HG-DCIS and 39% for HG-IDC), which made androgen receptor a possible therapeutic target. (3) One third of HG-IDC was negative for androgen receptor, ER, PR, and HER-2, suggesting that further studies are needed to identify other key molecules for targeted therapy. We purpose that androgen receptor should be routinely measured for breast cancer.

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