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Eur J Surg Oncol. 2004 Jun;30(5):515-9.

Expression of prolactin receptor mRNA in oestrogen receptor positive breast cancers pre- and post-tamoxifen therapy.

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Breast Care Centre, North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol BS16 1LE, UK.



Previous in vitro studies have shown that tamoxifen down-regulates prolactin receptors in breast cancer cells. The aim of this study was to determine whether similar changes might provide the basis for a predictive test in patients.


Biopsy specimens were obtained from 28 post-menopausal women immediately before initiation of treatment with tamoxifen (20 mg daily) and after treatment for 7 days. Prolactin receptor mRNA, determined by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, was then expressed relative to 18S ribosomal RNA.


There was good evidence for a decline in receptor expression in response to treatment with tamoxifen in the whole group (p = 0.036) but with a particularly marked decrease (>60%) in a sub-group of 11 patients. No clear correlation with tumour type or grade, or with several other markers (progesterone receptor, c-erb B-2, pS2, or Bcl-2) was apparent.


Tamoxifen reduces expression of mRNA encoding the prolactin receptor in a sub-group of breast tumours and might provide the basis for a predictive test for tamoxifen therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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