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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1990 Oct;16(3):243-51.

Colocalization of estrogen and progesterone receptors with an estrogen-regulated heat shock protein in paraffin sections of human breast and endometrial cancer tissue.

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  • 1Unidad de Histo-Patología Endócrina, Centro Regional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas, Mendoza, Argentina.


We have studied by immunocytochemistry and monoclonal antibodies the presence and localization of estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and a 24-kD estrogen-regulated heat shock protein in biopsies from breast and endometrial cancer patients. Three different tissue processing protocols were used to colocalize the antigens in the same tissue sections: a) frozen sections, b) formalin fixation with routine paraffin embedding, and c) picric acid-formaldehyde (PAF) fixation with a rapid embedding in paraffin. Frozen sections showed good receptor staining but poor 24-kD protein immunoreactivity, while routine paraffin sections (with or without DNase pretreatment) were inadequate to reveal the nuclear receptor proteins at the same level seen in frozen sections. On the other hand, all three proteins could be detected satisfactorily in PAF-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue. Using this procedure we were able to visualize 24-kD protein and estrogen receptor or progesterone receptor in individual cells in paraffin sections. The study revealed that in all of the estrogen receptor positive breast and endometrial tumor samples, almost 90% of the cells expressing the cytoplasmic 24-kD protein contained estrogen receptor in the cell nucleus. In contrast, 24-kD immunoreactive cells did not express progesterone receptors in almost 40% of the progesterone receptor positive tumor samples.

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