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J Breast Cancer. 2012 Sep;15(3):288-95. doi: 10.4048/jbc.2012.15.3.288. Epub 2012 Sep 28.

Survival benefit of tamoxifen in estrogen receptor-negative and progesterone receptor-positive low grade breast cancer patients.

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Department of Surgery, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan.



This study aimed to analyze the efficacy and prognostic significance of adjuvant tamoxifen in breast cancer patients with various hormone receptor statuses.


Typically, 1,260 female breast cancer patients were recruited in this study. The correlation between estrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PR) phenotypes and clinical characteristics was investigated, and the survival rate was assessed after 5-year follow-up.


The 5-year overall survival (85%) was better in women under the age of 50 years. Patients with ER+/PR+ tumors had a better 5-year survival rate (94%); those with ER-/PR- tumors experienced the worst outcome (74% survival rate); whereas single-positive cases were in between. In 97 out of 128 patients with ER-/PR+ tumors, tamoxifen was given as adjuvant hormonal therapy, and it increased the survival benefit in the lower grade group in terms of overall survival and disease-free survival (p=0.01 and p=0.03, respectively).


For high-grade tumors with ER-/PR+, adjuvant tamoxifen therapy may have no survival benefit, whereas for the patients with low-grade ER-/PR+ tumors, adjuvant tamoxifen therapy is highly suggestive.


Breast carcinoma; Estrogen receptor; Progesterone receptor; Tamoxifen

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