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Pathol Oncol Res. 2008 Dec;14(4):435-42. doi: 10.1007/s12253-008-9088-y. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

Expression of estrogen receptor alpha and beta in breast cancers of pre- and post-menopausal women.

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Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Unidad de Investigación en Epidemiología Clínica, León, Guanajuato, Mexico.


Expression of estrogen receptors (ER) is clinically relevant in designing therapeutic strategies. The relative importance of the two types of estrogen receptors (ER-alpha and ER-beta) in human breast cancers in pre- and post-menopausal women has not been properly defined. To determine the possible association between the expression of estrogen receptor and serum estradiol levels in pre- and post-menopausal women with breast cancer. 44 patients with invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast were studied and a breast tissue biopsy was taken. ER-alpha and ER-beta were detected by immunocytochemistry. Serum levels of estradiol and estrone were measured by radioimmunoassay and FSH was measured using IRMA. We studied 21 pre- and 23 post-menopausal women with breast carcinoma. Examining the number of cases with tumors positive for ER, we found no differences in the frequency of ER-alpha between pre- and post-menopausal women, but ER-beta decreased marginally after menopause (p < 0.051). In cases with tumors positive for ER, the proportion of cells positive for ER-alpha was similar post-menopausally (53.95%) and pre-menopausally (57.21%), but for ER-beta the number of positive cells decreased significantly after menopause (p < 0.051). In pre-menopausal women there was a correlation between serum estradiol levels and ER-beta; in post-menopausal women there was a correlation between serum FSH levels and ER-alpha. These results indicate that estradiol levels in women with mammary carcinoma are related to ER-beta expression in the breast tumor tissue.

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