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Clin Lung Cancer. 2012 Nov;13(6):416-23. doi: 10.1016/j.cllc.2012.03.006. Epub 2012 Jun 2.

Role of hormone receptor expression in patients with advanced-stage lung cancer treated with chemotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin at San Luigi Hospital, Orbassano (Torino), Italy.



Evidence that supports a role for hormonal status in lung cancer has been inconsistently reported and is still unclear. We retrospectively assessed the potential correlation between sex-linked hormone receptor expression and the clinical outcome of patients with advanced-stage lung cancer treated with chemotherapy.


Based on tissue availability, 130 consecutive patients diagnosed at San Luigi Hospital from January 2008 to June 2010 were collected, including 24 small-cell lung cancer, 57 adenocarcinomas, 34 squamous cell carcinomas, 5 large-cell carcinomas, and 10 non-small-cell lung cancer-not otherwise specified. The immunohistochemical expression of estrogen receptors (ER-α and ER-β) and progesterone receptor, aromatase, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and excision repair cross-complementing 1 (ERCC1) was assessed.


ER-β nuclear expression was higher than ER-α and progesterone receptor, whose expression was null or weak (mainly in women). ER-β expression was significantly higher in patients with metastatic disease compared with all other disease stages (P = .02). EGFR expression was strongly correlated with non-small-cell lung cancer histology, being higher in squamous types and stage related. In men, aromatase positive cases had a worse outcome (P = .03) as well as in men with non-small-cell lung cancer and high ER-β expression. In the latter group, the combined aromatase negative and/or low ER-β expression and low ERCC1 and/or low ER-β expression showed a better outcome (P = .026; P = .03, respectively).


In patients with advanced-stage lung cancer treated with chemotherapy, the prognostic and predictive role of sex-linked hormone receptor expression, if any, is of borderline significance and is restricted to selected subgroups of patients.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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