Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 191–199 | Cite as

Progesterone receptor activity and relapse-free survival in patients with primary breast cancer: The role of adjuvant chemotherapy

  • J. M. M. Raemaekers
  • L. V. A. M. Beex
  • G. F. F. M. Pieters
  • A. G. H. Smals
  • Th. J. Benraad
  • P. W. C. Kloppenborg
  • Breast Cancer Study Group
  • T. Wobbes
  • W. van Daal
  • R. Holland
  • J. Hendriks
  • D. Wagener


The prognostic significance of progesterone receptor activity (PgR) with regard to the estimated relapse-free survival (RFS) was studied in 350 one-center patients with primary breast cancer. All receptor assays were performed in one laboratory; PgR levels >10 fmol/mg protein were considered positive. Univariate as well as multivariate statistical analyses were used to examine the prognostic significance of several variables. Eighty-nine of the 350 patients received adjuvant CMF chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil). The median observation period was 69 months (range 12–125 months).

In the group of 261 patients who did not receive adjuvant CMF, the PgR-status lacked prognostic significance; only the lymph node status significantly affected the RFS (p<0.00001). In contrast, in the CMF-treated group of patients, the PgR-status was the most powerful predictor of recurrence (p<0.0001). The menopausal and the lymph-node status increased the predictive value of PgR (p<0.001). Premenopausal CMF-treated patients with PgR+ tumors had a significantly longer RFS than those with PgR tumors (p<0.02). The present data urge the need for a reappraisal of the prognostic significance of PgR and of the mechanism of action of adjuvant chemotherapy in primary breast cancer.

Key words

adjuvant chemotherapy breast cancer progesterone receptor prognosis 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. M. Raemaekers
    • 1
  • L. V. A. M. Beex
    • 1
  • G. F. F. M. Pieters
    • 1
  • A. G. H. Smals
    • 1
  • Th. J. Benraad
    • 2
  • P. W. C. Kloppenborg
    • 1
  • Breast Cancer Study Group
  • T. Wobbes
    • 3
  • W. van Daal
    • 4
  • R. Holland
    • 5
  • J. Hendriks
    • 6
  • D. Wagener
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of EndocrinologyUniversity Hospital NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Experimental and Chemical EndocrinologyUniversity Hospital NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryUniversity Hospital NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of RadiotherapyUniversity Hospital NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Department of PathologyUniversity Hospital NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospital NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  7. 7.Department of Medical OncologyUniversity Hospital NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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