, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 117-125

Epidermal growth factor receptor expression in breast cancer: Association with response to endocrine therapy

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106 previously untreated breast cancer patients have been immunohistochemically analysed for EGF-R, ER, Ki67, and c-erbB-2 product. All patients received assessable endocrine therapy following disease progression. Significant associations were observed between EGF-R and ER (inverse) and Ki67 (direct). No association was observed between EGF-R and the c-erbB-2 product. EGF-R expression was significantly associated with the loss of endocrine sensitivity in breast cancer. This was observed in both ER positive and negative disease. In ER positive breast cancers, EGF-R expression had no significant influence on the quality of tumour remissions. Further sub-classification of the ER/EGF-R data by Ki67 immunostaining showed that in ER+/EGF-R- disease, increasing proportions of Ki67 positive cells were associated with a decline in the numbers of women experiencing good quality tumour remissions. A similar trend was also observed in ER+/EGF-R+ tumours. The presence of c-erbB-2 protein product did not influence endocrine sensitivity in any of the ER/EGF-R sub-groups.