Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 81–87

Association between HER-2/neu and the progesterone receptor in oestrogen-dependent breast cancer is age-related

  • Huei-Jean Huang
  • Patrick Neven
  • Maria Drijkoningen
  • Robert Paridaens
  • Hans Wildiers
  • Erik Van Limbergen
  • Patrick Berteloot
  • Frederic Amant
  • Marie Rose Christiaens
  • Ignace Vergote
Report

DOI: 10.1007/s10549-004-8235-8

Cite this article as:
Huang, HJ., Neven, P., Drijkoningen, M. et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2005) 91: 81. doi:10.1007/s10549-004-8235-8

Summary

In oestrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer, HER-2/neu and the progesterone receptor (PR) are inversely associated. This explains a lower response to anti-oestrogens if ER+ breast cancers are HER-2/neu positive. One randomized study however, showed that premenopausal women with an ER+ breast cancer respond to anti-oestrogens independent of HER-2/neu. We therefore hypothesized an age-related association between HER-2/neu and PR in ER+ breast cancers. Receptors for ER, PR and HER-2/neu were analysed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). A uni- and multivariate analyses was carried out to assess this relationship in 1104 women with an ER+ breast cancer. We observed an inverse association between HER-2/neu and PR only after age 45. There were 173 women of age ≤45 and 931 of age >45 years. In multivariate analysis, only tumour grade (p=0.005) but not PR status was associated with HER-2/neu in women age ≤45 years. However, in age >45 years group, both PR status (p=0.001) and tumour grade (p = 0.001) were independently associated with HER-2/neu. In ER+ breast cancers from women age >45, PR was positive in 76.9% if HER-2/neu negative but in 53.4% if HER-2/neu positive (p<0.001) and the median quantitative PR levels are 150 and 75 respectively in HER-2/neu negative and HER-2/neu positive tumours (p=0.002). This age effect of HER-2/neu on the PR status was not seen in women age ≤45 years and the median quantitative PR levels are 200 and 220 respectively in HER-2/neu negative and HER-2/neu positive tumours (p = 0.518). The study confirms an age-related inverse relationship between HER-2/neu and PR only in women age >45 years but not in women age ≤45 years.

Key words

age breast cancer HER-2/neu hormone receptors immunohistochemistry oestrogen-dependent progesterone receptor 

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huei-Jean Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrick Neven
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maria Drijkoningen
    • 3
    • 4
  • Robert Paridaens
    • 3
    • 5
  • Hans Wildiers
    • 3
    • 5
  • Erik Van Limbergen
    • 3
    • 5
  • Patrick Berteloot
    • 2
  • Frederic Amant
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marie Rose Christiaens
    • 3
    • 7
  • Ignace Vergote
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Gynaecologic Oncology in Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyChang Gung Memorial HospitalTaoyuanTaiwan
  2. 2.Division of Gynaecologic Oncology in Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyLeuven University HospitalLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Division of Gynaecologic Oncology in Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Multidisciplinary Breast CentreLeuven University HospitalLeuvenBelgium
  4. 4.Department of PathologyLeuven University HospitalBelgium
  5. 5.Department of Medical OncologyLeuven University HospitalBelgium
  6. 6.Department of RadiotherapyLeuven University HospitalBelgium
  7. 7.Department of SurgeryLeuven University HospitalBelgium

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