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January 19, 2000

Estrogen-Receptor Status in Breast Cancer

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorMargaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Fishbein FellowIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(3):338-339. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-283-3-jac90010

To the Editor: Estrogen-receptor (ER) levels are an important predictor of breast cancer prognosis. When combined with other prognostic information, ER status is predictive of disease-free survival.1 Although ER status is commonly used in the medical literature, its cutoff value is still arbitrary. For example, in the Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group's study,2 ER-positivity was defined as at least 10 fmol ER per milligram of cytosol protein, while Clark et al3 defined ER positivity as at least 3 fmol/mg of protein-specific binding sites. Without a consensus on the cutoff point, it is difficult to make medical decisions based on these research findings.