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December 1984

Estrogen Receptors and the Pattern of Relapse in Breast Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Medical Oncology (Drs Qazi and Drobyski) and Biostatistics (Dr Chuang), University of Rochester Cancer Center, and Highland Hospital (Drs Qazi and Drobyski), Rochester, NY.

Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(12):2365-2367. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350220085019

• To determine if the pattern of relapse in patients with breast cancer was influenced by the presence or absence of hormonal receptors, we examined 300 patients with breast cancer who had estrogen receptor (ER) assays performed on their primary tumors. A multivariate discriminant analysis of the initial site of recurrence was performed, and we included in the analysis such factors as ER status, menopausal status, axillary lymph node involvement, and the interaction between menopausal status and ER status. Estrogen receptor status was found to be the single most important independent variable associated with the pattern of recurrence. There was significantly higher likelihood of visceral metastasis with ER-negative tumors, 52.1% as opposed to 5.38% for ER-positive tumors. Conversely, there was a high frequency of osseous relapse with ER-positive tumors, 60.4%, as opposed to 13.4% for ER-negative tumors. We also found that postmenopausal women tended to be ER positive more often than premenopausal women, and progesterone receptor status appears to be a good indicator for five-year disease-free survival in patients without axillary node involvement. With the progression of disease, there was a loss of receptors, even without therapeutic intervention.

(Arch Intern Med 1984;144:2365-2367)

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