Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Prognostic value of estrogen receptors determined by radiochemical vs. histochemical methods in breast cancer

  • 18 Accesses

  • 5 Citations


Estrogen receptors (ER) were evaluated in 634 breast cancer patients by the dextran-coated charcoal method (DCC). In 206, ER and progesterone receptors (PR) were also tested by cytochemistry (Lee method), and in 124 ER were tested by immunofluorescence (Pertschuk method). The median follow-up is 3.7 years.

Comparisons have been made between receptor content and:1) anatomical and clinical features, 2) disease-free survival (DFS), and 3) survival.

The following conclusions can be drawn:

  1. a)

    there is no correlation between ER determinations by DCC and by immunofluorescence or cytochemical methods;

  2. b)

    there is no evidence of association between ER and PR determined by Lee's method and anatomical and clinical features;

  3. c)

    a highly significant positive association was found between ER rich specimens and age, post-menopausal status, lobular and tubular histologic types;

  4. d)

    there is no association between ER values and TNM stage, WHO grading, pathologic prognostic factors of primary tumor and of lymph nodes; and

  5. e)

    the DFS was not affected by ER status, except for tumors with more than 50 fmol/mg protein.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Chang JC, Wergowske G: Correlation of estrogen receptors and response to chemotherapy of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil (CMF) in advanced breast cancer. Cancer 48: 2503, 1981

  2. 2.

    Degenshein GA, Bloom N, Tobin E: The value of progesterone receptor assay in the management of advanced breast cancer. Cancer 46:2789, 1980

  3. 3.

    Osborne CK, Yochmowitz MG, Knight WA, McGuire WL: The value of estrogen and progesterone receptors in the treatment of breast cancer. Cancer 46:2884, 1980

  4. 4.

    Samal BA, Brooks SC, Cummings G, Franco L, Hire EA, Martino S, Singhakowinta A, Vaitkevicius VK: Estrogen receptors and responsiveness of advanced breast cancer to chemotherapy. Cancer 46:2925, 1980

  5. 5.

    Young PCM, Ehrlich CE, Einhorn LH: Relationship between steroid receptors and response to endocrine therapy and cytotoxic chemotherapy in metastatic breast cancer. Cancer 46:2961, 1980

  6. 6.

    Jensen EV: Hormone dependency of breast cancer. Cancer 47:2319, 1981

  7. 7.

    Howanitz JH: Hormone receptors and breast cancer. Human Pathol 12:1057, 1981

  8. 8.

    McGuire WL, Horwitz KB: Progesterone receptors in breast cancer,In McGuire WL (ed): Hormones, Receptors, and Breast Cancer. Raven Press, New York, 1978, p 31

  9. 9.

    Nomura Y, Yamagata J, Kondo H, Kanda K, Takenaka K: Clinical usefulness of estrogen receptor assay in early and advanced breast cancer,In McGuire WL (ed): Hormones, Receptors, and Breast Cancer. Raven Press, New York, 1978, p 15

  10. 10.

    Kiang DT, Kennedy BJ: Chemoendocrine therapy in advanced breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 1: 105, 1981

  11. 11.

    Stewart J, King R, Hayward J, Rubens R: Estrogen and progesterone receptors: correlation of response rates, site and timing of receptor analysis. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2:243, 1982

  12. 12.

    Clark GM, McGuire WL, Hubay CA, Pearson O, Marshall JS: Comparison of progesterone receptor with estrogen receptor in predicting disease free survival in stage II breast cancer patients (Abstract). Breast Cancer Res Treat 2:278, 1982

  13. 13.

    Bertelsen CA, Giuliano AE, Kern DH, Mann BD, Morton DL: Estrogen and progesterone receptor status as a predictor of in vitro chemotherapeutic response of breast cancers (Abstract). Breast Cancer Res Treat 2:279, 1982

  14. 14.

    Saez S, Cheix F, Asselain B, Mayer M: Prognostic value of estradiol and progesterone receptors in breast cancer (Abstract). Breast Cancer Res Treat 2:281, 1982

  15. 15.

    Lesser ML, Rosen PP, Senie RT, Duthie K, Menendez-Botet CJ, Schwarz MK: Estrogen and progesterone receptors in breast carcinoma. Correlation with epidemiology and pathology. Cancer 48:299, 1981

  16. 16.

    McCarty KS Jr, Barton TK, Fetter BF, Woodard BH, Mossler JA, Reeves W, Daly J, Wilkinson WE, McCarty KS Sr: Correlation of estrogen and progesterone receptors with histologic differentiation in mammary carcinoma. Cancer 46:2851, 1980

  17. 17.

    Rosen PP, Menendez-Botet CJ, Senie RT, Schwartz MK, Schottenfeld D, Farr GH: Estrogen receptor protein (ERP) and the histopathology of human mammary carcinoma.In McGuire WL (ed): Hormones, Receptors, and Breast Cancer. Raven Press, New York, 1978, p 71

  18. 18.

    Thoresen S, Thorsen T, Tangen M, Hartveit F: Oestrogen and progesterone receptor content and the distribution of histological grade in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2:251, 1982

  19. 19.

    Bonadonna G, Brusamolino E, Valagussa P, Rossi A, Brugnatelli L, Brambilla C, De Lena M, Tancini G, Bajetta E, Musumeci R, Veronesi U: Combination chemotherapy as adjuvant treatment in operable breast cancer. New Engl J Med 294:405, 1976

  20. 20.

    Haslam SZ, Shyamala G: Progesterone receptors in normal mammary glands of mice: characterization and relationship to development. Endocrinology 105:786–795, 1979

  21. 21.

    Korenman SG: Radio-ligand binding assay of specific estrogens using a soluble uterine macromolecule. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 28:127, 1968

  22. 22.

    Shyamala G, McBlain WA: Distinction between progestin and glucocorticoid sites in mammary glands. Apparent lack of cytoplasmic progesterone receptors in lactating mammary glands. Biochem J 178:345–352, 1979

  23. 23.

    Lowry OH, Rosebrough NG, Farr AL, Randall RJ: Protein measurement with the folin-phenol reagent. J Biol Chem 193:265, 1951

  24. 24.

    Piffanelli A, Fumero S, Pelizzola D, De Bortoli M, Giovannini G, Tosi SP: Quality control of estrogen receptor assay, the Italian experience.In Radioimmunoassay and Related Procedures in Medicine. IAEA, 635–644, Wien, 1982

  25. 25.

    Fumero S, Berruto GP, Piffanelli A, et al.: Results of the Italian interlaboratory quality control program for estradiol receptor assay. Tumori 67:501–506, 1981

  26. 26.

    Piffanelli A, Fumero S, Pelizzola D, Berruto GP, Ricci L, Giovannini G: Uniform DCC method for estradiol and progesterone receptors assay on tumor tissue. Lab J Res Lab Med: IX, 1, 13–21, 1982

  27. 27.

    Lee SH: Cytochemical study of estrogen receptor in human mammary cancer. Am J Clin Pathol 70:197, 1978

  28. 28.

    Pertschuk LP, Tobin EH, Brigati DJ, Kim DS, Bloom ND, Gaetjens E, Berman PJ, Carter AC, Degenshein GA: Immunofluorescent detection of estrogen receptors in breast cancer. Comparison with dextran-coated charcoal and sucrose gradient assays. Cancer 41:907, 1978

  29. 29.

    Cox DR: Regression models and life tables (with discussion). J Roy Stat Soc B 34:187, 1972

  30. 30.

    Breslow NE: Covariance analysis of censored survival data. Biometrics 30:89, 1974

  31. 31.

    SAS User's Guide, 1979 Edition. SAS Institute, Box 8000, Cary, North Carolina 27511, USA

  32. 32.

    BMDP-Biomedical Computer Programs, P-series. Dixon WJ,Brown MB (eds). University of California Press, 1979

  33. 33.

    SAS Supplementary Library User's Guide, 1980 Edition. SAS Institute, Box 8000, Cary, North Carolina 27511, USA

  34. 34.

    Chamness GC, Mercer WD, McGuire WL: Are histochemical methods for estrogen receptor valid? J Histochem Cytochem 28:792, 1980

  35. 35.

    Nenci I, Marchetti E, Marzola A, Fabris G: Affinity cytochemistry visualizes specific estrogen binding sites on the plasma membrane of breast cancer cells. J Steroid Biochem 14:1139, 1981

  36. 36.

    Nenci I: Estrogen receptor cytochemistry in human breast cancer: status and prospects. Cancer 48:2674, 1981

  37. 37.

    Kromer ME, Clark GM, Osborne CK, McGuire WL: Relationship between patient age and menstrual status and estrogen receptor levels in primary breast cancer (Abstract). Breast Cancer Res Treat 2:281, 1982

  38. 38.

    Sugano H, Sakamoto G, Sakamoto A, Nomura Y, Takatani O, Matsumoto K: Hormone receptors and histopathology in Japanese breast cancer.In McGuire WL: Hormones, Receptors, and Breast Cancer. Raven Press, New York, 1978, p 59

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Piero Sismondi M.D..

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sismondi, P., Aimone, V., Genta, F. et al. Prognostic value of estrogen receptors determined by radiochemical vs. histochemical methods in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Tr 6, 67–73 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01806012

Download citation

Key words

  • breast cancer
  • estrogen receptors
  • histochemistry
  • progesterone receptors
  • prognostic factors