Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 136, Issue 2, pp 559-564

First online:

Breast cancer incidence by estrogen receptor status in Denmark from 1996 to 2007

  • J. BigaardAffiliated withDepartment of Breast Surgery, Ringsted Hospital Email author 
  • , C. StahlbergAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Odense University Hospital
  • , M.-B. JensenAffiliated withDanish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group (DBCG), Rigshospitalet
  • , M. EwertzAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology, Odense University HospitalInstitute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark
  • , N. KromanAffiliated withDepartment of Breast Surgery, Rigshospitalet

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During the past 50 years, breast cancer incidence has increased by 2–3 % annually. Despite many years of testing for estrogen receptors (ER), evidence is scarce on breast cancer incidence by ER status. The aim of this paper was to investigate the increase in breast cancer incidence by ER status. Data were obtained from the clinical database of the Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group which holds nationwide data on diagnosis, including pathology, treatment, and follow-up on primary breast cancers since 1977. All Danish women <80 years diagnosed with primary breast cancer 1996–2007 were identified in this prospective register based study. ER status was evaluated using immunohistochemical staining by standardized laboratory methods in the Danish Pathology Departments and reported to the database. From 1996 to 2007, breast cancer incidence increased overall with a tendency to level off after 2002. In all women a significant decrease was found in ER unknown tumors. However, in both pre- and postmenopausal women, significant increases were seen in incidence of ER+ tumors; though the increase levelled off for premenopausal women after 2002. In postmenopausal women, the incidence of ER− breast cancer decreased significantly throughout the period. In women <35 years, we found a minor non-significant increase in both ER+ and ER− tumors. ER unknown decreased in all women and was the most distinct in premenopausal women aged 35+. We found a significant increase in ER+ breast cancer incidence in postmenopausal women whereas the incidence in premenopausal women (aged 35+) levelled off after 2002.


Breast cancer incidence Estrogen receptor status Epidemiology