[Skip to Navigation]
October 1989

Value of Measuring Hormone Receptor Levels of Regional Metastatic Carcinoma of the Breast

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Arch Surg. 1989;124(10):1131-1135. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1989.01410100029006

• To assess the value of measuring the estrogen- and progesterone-receptor content of metastatic nodal disease, 38 women with node-positive breast cancer were prospectively evaluated. Receptor content of the primary tumor and a pathologically confirmed positive node were measured simultaneously using a dual-isotope, dextran-coated, charcoal-binding assay. A receptor content of greater than or equal to 10 fmol/mg of cytosol protein was considered positive for both the estrogen-receptor and progesterone-receptor assays. Overall concordance between the primary tumors and the nodal metastases was 82% (31/38 patients) for the estrogen-receptor measurements and 84% (31/37 patients) for the progesterone-receptor measurements. Paired receptor levels were significantly correlated: r =.745 for the estrogen-receptor measurements and r =.805 for the progesterone-receptor measurements. Despite this correlation, 6 (25%) of 24 patients with an estrogen receptor–positive primary tumor had an estrogen receptor–negative nodal metastasis. Four (20%) of 20 patients with a progesterone receptor–positive primary tumor had a progesterone receptor–negative nodal metastasis. Six (24%) of 25 patients with tumors labeled as hormonally sensitive on the basis of the receptor content of the primary tumor had receptor-negative nodal disease. In reflecting the hormonal status of the more aggressive elements of the primary tumor, receptor levels of metastatic nodes may provide more useful information than the levels of the primary tumor as a guideline for further therapy.

(Arch Surg. 1989;124:1131-1135)