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      Hormone receptor status, tumor characteristics, and prognosis: a prospective cohort of breast cancer patients

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      1 , , 1 , 2 , 1 , 2
      Breast Cancer Research
      BioMed Central

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          Abstract

          Background

          Breast cancer patients with tumors that are estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and/or progesterone receptor (PR)-positive have lower risks of mortality after their diagnosis compared to women with ER- and/or PR-negative disease. However, few studies have evaluated variations in the risks of breast cancer-specific mortality across ER/PR status by either demographic or clinical characteristics.

          Methods

          Using data from 11 population-based cancer registries that participate in the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) program, 155,175 women at least 30 years old with a primary diagnosis of invasive breast carcinoma from 1990 to 2001 were included in the study. Associations between joint hormone receptor status and breast cancer mortality risk within categories of diagnosis age, diagnosis year, race/ethnicity, histologic tumor type, stage, grade, size, and axillary lymph node status were evaluated using the Cox proportional hazards model.

          Results

          Compared to ER+/PR+ cases, elevations in risk of mortality were observed across all subcategories of age at diagnosis, ranging from 1.2- to 1.5-fold differences for ER+/PR- cases, 1.5- to 2.1-fold differences for ER-/PR+ cases, and 2.1- to 2.6-fold differences for ER-/PR- cases. Greater differences were observed in analyses stratified by grade; among women with low-grade lesions, ER-/PR- patients had a 2.6-fold (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7 to 3.9) to 3.1-fold (95% CI 2.8 to 3.4) increased risk of mortality compared to ER+/PR+ patients, but among women with high-grade lesions, they had a 2.1-fold (95% CI 1.9 to 2.2) to 2.3-fold (95% CI 1.8 to 2.8) increased risk.

          Conclusion

          Compared to women with ER+/PR+ tumors, women with ER+/PR-, ER-/PR+, or ER-/PR- tumors experienced higher risks of mortality, which were largely independent of the various demographic and clinical tumor characteristics assessed in this study. The higher relative mortality risks identified among ER-/PR- patients with small or low-grade tumors raise the question of whether there may be a beneficial role for adjuvant chemotherapy in this population.

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          Most cited references31

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          Progesterone receptor status significantly improves outcome prediction over estrogen receptor status alone for adjuvant endocrine therapy in two large breast cancer databases.

          To determine whether progesterone receptor (PgR) status provides additional value to estrogen receptor (ER) status and improves prediction of benefit from endocrine treatment among patients with primary breast cancer. Clinical outcomes of patients in two large databases were analyzed as a function of steroid receptor status. The first database (PP), contained 3,739 patients who did not receive any systemic adjuvant therapy and 1,688 patients who received adjuvant endocrine therapy but no chemotherapy. The second database (SPORE), contained 10,444 patients who received adjuvant endocrine therapy but no chemotherapy. Biochemical ER and PgR assays were identically performed in two different central laboratories. In univariate and multivariate analyses, the prognostic significance of PgR status among systemically untreated patients is modest. Among endocrine-treated patients, however, multivariate analyses, including lymph-node involvement, tumor size, and age, demonstrate that PgR status is independently associated with disease-free and overall survival. For recurrence, the reduction in relative risk (RR) was 25% for ER-positive/PgR-negative patients and 53% for ER-positive/PgR-positive patients, compared with ER-negative/PgR-negative patients (P <.0001, PP patients). Patients with ER-positive/PgR-negative tumors have a reduction in RR of death of 30% (SPORE patients) and 38% (PP patients), compared with patients with ER-negative/PgR-negative tumors (P <.0001). For ER-positive/PgR-positive tumors, the reduction of the risk of death was greater than 46% in SPORE patients and 58% in PP patients, indicating that ER-positive/PgR-positive patients derive more benefit from endocrine therapy (P <.0001). When accurately measured, PgR status is an independent predictive factor for benefit from adjuvant endocrine therapy. Therefore, PgR status should be taken into account when discussing RR reductions expected from endocrine treatment with individual patients.
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            Prognostic and predictive factors in early-stage breast cancer.

            Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among American women. Due to increased screening, the majority of patients present with early-stage breast cancer. The Oxford Overview Analysis demonstrates that adjuvant hormonal therapy and polychemotherapy reduce the risk of recurrence and death from breast cancer. Adjuvant systemic therapy, however, has associated risks and it would be useful to be able to optimally select patients most likely to benefit. The purpose of adjuvant systemic therapy is to eradicate distant micrometastatic deposits. It is essential therefore to be able to estimate an individual patient's risk of harboring clinically silent micrometastatic disease using established prognostic factors. It is also beneficial to be able to select the optimal adjuvant therapy for an individual patient based on established predictive factors. It is standard practice to administer systemic therapy to all patients with lymph node-positive disease. However, there are clearly differences among node-positive women that may warrant a more aggressive therapeutic approach. Furthermore, there are many node-negative women who would also benefit from adjuvant systemic therapy. Prognostic factors therefore must be differentiated from predictive factors. A prognostic factor is any measurement available at the time of surgery that correlates with disease-free or overall survival in the absence of systemic adjuvant therapy and, as a result, is able to correlate with the natural history of the disease. In contrast, a predictive factor is any measurement associated with response to a given therapy. Some factors, such as hormone receptors and HER2/neu overexpression, are both prognostic and predictive.
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              Clinical characteristics of different histologic types of breast cancer

              Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease, though little is known about some of its rarer forms, including certain histologic types. Using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program data on 135 157 invasive breast cancer cases diagnosed from 1992 to 2001, relationships between nine histologic types of breast cancer and various tumour characteristics were assessed. Among women aged 50–89 years at diagnosis, lobular and ductal/lobular carcinoma cases were more likely to be diagnosed with stage III/IV, ⩾5.0 cm, and node-positive tumours compared to ductal carcinoma cases. Mucinous, comedo, tubular, and medullary carcinomas were less likely to present at an advanced stage. Lobular, ductal/lobular, mucinous, tubular, and papillary carcinomas were less likely, and comedo, medullary, and inflammatory carcinomas were more likely to be oestrogen receptor (ER) negative/progesterone receptor (PR) negative and high grade (notably, 68.2% of medullary carcinomas were ER−/PR− vs 19.3% of ductal carcinomas). In general, similar differences were observed among women diagnosed at age 30–49 years. Inflammatory carcinomas are associated with more aggressive tumour phenotypes, and mucinous, tubular, and papillary tumours are associated with less aggressive phenotypes. The histologic types of breast cancer studied here differ greatly in their clinical presentations, and the differences in their hormone receptor profiles and grades point to their likely different aetiologies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Breast Cancer Res
                Breast Cancer Research
                BioMed Central (London )
                1465-5411
                1465-542X
                2007
                19 January 2007
                : 9
                : 1
                : R6
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Box 356113, 1959 NE Pacific St., Seattle, WA 98195, USA
                [2 ]Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA
                Article
                bcr1639
                10.1186/bcr1639
                1851385
                17239243
                6c87d341-04d1-4007-b0ff-2c59cbfaec5e
                Copyright © 2007 Dunnwald et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 21 August 2006
                : 23 October 2006
                : 9 January 2007
                : 19 January 2007
                Categories
                Research Article

                Oncology & Radiotherapy
                Oncology & Radiotherapy

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