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Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2006;43(4):325-47.

Estrogen receptors: role in breast cancer.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, St Vincent's University Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin 4, Ireland.


The estrogen receptor (ER) exists in two forms known as ERalpha and ERbeta. Currently, a clinical role has only been established for ERalpha. The primary use of ERalpha in breast cancer is for predicting likely response to hormone treatment. Patients with breast cancers expressing ERalpha are approximately seven to eight times more likely to benefit from endocrine therapy than ERalpha-negative patients. For the initial three to five years after primary diagnosis, ERalpha-positive patients generally have a better outcome than ERalpha-negative patients. Overall, however, the prognostic value of ERalpha is relatively weak and only of limited value in the clinically important subgroup of patients with lymph node-negative disease. Further work is required to establish if ERbeta has a clinical role in breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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