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Virchows Arch. 2005 Oct;447(4):695-700. Epub 2005 Oct 19.

Immunohistochemical study of androgen receptors in breast carcinoma. Evidence of their frequent expression in lobular carcinoma.

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Department of Human Morphology, Section of Pathology, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy.


Androgens and androgen receptors (AR) are involved in the pathogenesis of breast cancer. Epidemiological studies have shown a significant association between the risk of breast cancer and androgens. However, the functional role and clinical value of AR expression in breast carcinoma have still not been clearly defined. The present study was set up to investigate the prevalence of ARs in a series of consecutive invasive breast carcinomas (IBCs) and to evaluate the patterns of AR phenotypes in a series of selected invasive lobular carcinomas (ILCs). Among the 250 consecutive IBCs (consisting of 212 ductal and 38 lobular neoplasms), AR immunoreactivity was observed in 151/250 (60.4%) cases, being expressed in 118/212 (56%) ductal and 33/38 (87%) lobular carcinomas (a statistically significant difference, chi2=11.82). AR expression was frequently associated with ER (65.2%, chi2=14.33) and PR positivity (66.9%, chi2=7.36). Most AR positive cases showed a low proliferative index (63.7%) and a low or intermediate histological grade (G1-G2, 63.9%). Among the 80 selected ILCs, AR expression was observed in 64/80 (80%) cases. Our results confirm that ARs are expressed in most breast cancers. Moreover, we demonstrated that AR positivity is particularly marked in lobular neoplasms. In addition, AR positive carcinomas are frequently characterized by a low or intermediate grade, a low proliferative index and ER and/or PR co-expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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