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Am J Clin Pathol. 2003 Nov;120(5):725-31.

Androgen receptor expression in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer. Immunohistochemical, clinical, and prognostic associations.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


We sought to determine the prevalence of androgen receptor (AR) expression in a predominantly estrogen receptor (ER)-negative subset of breast cancers and delineate the immunohistochemical and clinical associations, including whether AR expression has prognostic significance in ER-negative tumors. We identified 69 ER-negative and 19 ER-positive breast cancer cases with concurrent immunohistochemical prognostic panels (ER, PR, HER-2/neu, Ki-67, and p53); immunohistochemical analysis was performed for AR using standard techniques. Clinical data were extracted from medical records. chi 2 tests were used to assess associations between variables. AR was found in 49% (34/69) of ER-negative and 89% (17/19) of ER-positive cases. In ER-negative tumors, AR was associated with increased age (P = .02), postmenopausal status (P < .001), tumor grade (P = .03), tumor size (P = .03), and HER-2/neu overexpression (P = .003). In ER-positive tumors, AR was associated with progesterone receptor expression (P < .03). In univariate analysis of ER-negative tumors, patients with AR-positive tumors had significantly better disease-free survival (P = .049). AR is expressed in a significant number of ER-negative cases and shows significant associations with important clinical and pathologic prognostic factors.

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