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Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Nov;94(46):e2066. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000002066.

Prognostic Significance of Single Progesterone Receptor Positivity: A Comparison Study of Estrogen Receptor Negative/Progesterone Receptor Positive/Her2 Negative Primary Breast Cancer With Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

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From the Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer Hospital& Institute, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College (YF, BX, FM, PY, JW, PZ, QL, YL); and Department of Oncology, Beijing DiTan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, P.R. China (XD).


Single progesterone receptor positive (PgR+), especially in form of ER-/PgR+/HER2-, is a nonnegligible phenomenon. Little is known about the characteristics and the role of single PgR positive in this phenotype. Therefore, we explore the significance of single PgR positivity by comparing ER-/PgR+/HER2- breast cancers with triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs).Three thousand nine hundred sixty-six cases of primary invasive breast carcinoma operated consecutively from January 2005 to May 2008 in Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences were examined. Two hundred forty (6%) cases were identified as ER-/PgR+/HER2- breast cancers and 348 (8.8%) cases as TNBCs. Clinicopathological characteristics and survivals were analyzed respectively and then compared between 2 subtypes.Compared with patients with TNBCs, ER-/PgR+/HER2- tumor tended to have lower tumor grade (Grade 3: 45.7% vs. 37.5%, P = 0.051) and smaller tumor size (P = 0.036). However, no differences were found between ER-/PgR+/HER2- and TNBC patients in relapse-free survival (RFS) and OS. The 5-year RFS rates were 80.7% and 77.4%, respectively (P = 0.330) and the 5-year OS rates were 88.0% and 85.2%, respectively (P = 0.290). ER-/PgR+/HER2- patients receiving adjuvant endocrine treatment had better RFS (P = 0.016) and overall survival (OS) (P < 0.0001) than patients receiving no endocrine therapy.This exclusive analysis of patients with ER-/PgR+/HER2- breast cancers showed that this subtype exhibited an aggressive behavior as TNBC, suggesting that it should also be regarded as biologically distinctive group and single PgR positive itself is not a good prognostic factor. However, adjuvant endocrine therapy could still benefit this group of patients. Further investigations should be done to elucidate the underlying mechanism.

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