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Histopathology. 2003 Feb;42(2):120-7.

Breast carcinoma in women over the age of 85: distinct histological pattern and androgen, oestrogen, and progesterone receptor status.

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Human Tissue Research Group, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Department of Breast Pathology, Cancer Institute, Tokyo, Japan.



The pathogenesis of breast carcinoma in very elderly women is of interest, because oestrogen levels are likely to be extremely low during the development of the disease. In an effort to understand the pathogenesis of breast carcinoma in these women, this study was undertaken to compare the histological patterns and hormone receptor status of breast carcinomas arising in very elderly and younger women.


Thirty-seven breast carcinomas from women over the age of 85 years at the time of their operation were examined histologically and compared with those from a large group of premenopausal women. The proportions of mucinous carcinoma and apocrine carcinoma were significantly greater in older women. The expression of steroid hormone receptors was studied immunohistochemically. Androgen receptor-positive carcinomas were significantly more frequent among older women, whereas progesterone receptor-positive carcinomas were significantly less frequent. There was no statistically significant difference in oestrogen receptor-alpha or -beta expression between the tumours from both groups.


Breast carcinomas in women over the age of 85 years have a different morphological spectrum from carcinomas in younger age groups and may have different pathogenesis mechanisms that may be more dependent on androgen and androgen receptor interaction. Differences from the results of the other studies are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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