Response to primary chemotherapy in breast cancer patients with tumors not expressing estrogen and progesterone receptors

M. Colleoni, I. Minchella, G. Mazzarol, F. Nolè, G. Peruzzotti, A. Rocca, G. Viale, L. Orlando, G. Ferretti, G. Curigliano, P. Veronesi, M. Intra, A. Goldhirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We recently demonstrated that in premenopausal patients with estrogen receptors (ER)-absent tumors, early initiation of systemic chemotherapy after primary surgery might improve outcome. These data indicate a different responsiveness to chemotherapy for tumors not expressing hormone receptors. To test this hypothesis we evaluated the responsiveness to preoperative chemotherapy in patients with ER and progesterone receptors (PgR)-absent tumors. Patients and methods: Patients with biopsy-proven T2-T3, N0-2 breast cancer treated at a single institution from January 1995 to August 1999 with preoperative chemotherapy were retrospectively evaluated. ER and PgR were determined immunohistochemically and classified for this purpose as absent (0% of the cells positive) or positive (≥ 1% of the cells). Results: On 117 evaluable patients 72 had an objective response (61%). A significant difference in response was observed for patients with ER and PgR absent compared with those with ER and/or PgR-positive tumors (82% vs. 57%, P = 0.03 Fishers's exact test). Pathological complete remission rates were also significantly different in the two groups (23% vs. 7%, respectively; P = 0.04). Conclusions: The different degree of response according to hormone receptors expression supports the hypothesis that tumors not expressing both ER and PgR might represent a different clinical entity in terms of chemotherapy responsiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1059
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Breast cancer
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Preoperative chemotherapy
  • Progesterone receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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