Androgen receptor is frequently expressed in HER2-positive, ER/PR-negative breast cancers

Donata Micello, Alessandro Marando, Nora Sahnane, Cristina Riva, Carlo Capella, Fausto Sessa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The estrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PR)-negative breast carcinomas (BCs) encompass three molecular subtypes: one with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER) overexpression, one normal like, and the triple negative. The androgen receptor (AR) is expressed in 70-90% of invasive BCs. The aim of our study is to detect the expression of AR in a series of ER/PR-negative BCs to ascertain if there is clinical significance in relation to BC molecular subtypes. A immunohistochemical study for all receptors and cytokeratin expression was performed in 232 cases of ER/PR-negative BCs. According to cytokeratin expression, BCs were classified into two groups: luminal-type BCs (44.2%) and basal-like-type BCs (55.8%). According to the expression of HER2, 59.3% were triple-negative BCs (when ER, PR, and HER2 were negative) and 40.7% were HER2-positive BCs. AR expression was observed in 128 tumors (56.6%). One hundred and ten cases (48.8%) had >10% and 18 (7.8%) had -8). Regarding HER2 status, 76.7% of HER2-positive BC cases were AR positive compared with only 30.4% of triple-negative BC types, showing a strong statistically significant correlation. In conclusion, we show that AR is frequently expressed in ER/PR-negative BCs and that expression of HER2 and AR is highly correlated (p∈

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-476
Number of pages10
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • AR
  • ER/PR-negative breast cancer
  • HER2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)


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