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The predictive value of steroid hormone receptor analysis in breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer

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The predictive value of female sex steroid, estrogen and progesterone, receptor (ER and PR, respectively) assays in breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer is reviewed with emphasis on comparative aspects of these malignant tumors in relation to their hormone dependency. The endocrine etiology of these three tumor types seems to be at least partly different, and so is the expression of these receptors in normal and malignant tissues of the breast, endometrium and ovary. There is a tendency for decreased receptor concentrations and disappearance of these receptors in association with advancement of these malignancies. There is also a decrease in the presence and concentrations of ER and PR in relation to loss of differentiation in breast and endometrial cancer. Receptor analyses have an established position in the selection of patients with advanced breast cancer for endocrine treatment, and they give promise of a similar application in endometrial cancer and in endometrioid cancer of the ovary. It is not clear whether the disease-free interval is related to the presence or concentrations of ER or PR as such in the tumor tissue. There is better survival in breast cancer patients with receptor-positive tumors, which might be due to a response to endocrine treatment. The same seems to be true for patients with endometrial cancer.

Future progress in the application of female sex steroid receptor analyses in breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer needs additional controlled clinical trials and more highly developed receptor assays.

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Vihko, R., Alanko, A., Isomaa, V. et al. The predictive value of steroid hormone receptor analysis in breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer. Med. Oncol. & Tumor Pharmacother. 3, 197–210 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02934996

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Key words

  • Steroid receptors
  • Breast cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Steroid hormones