Estrogen receptors in human breast cancer
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The present study defines criteria for determining the presence of estrogen-receptors in human breast carcinomas demonstrated by a histochemical assay using 17β-estradiol-carboxy-methyl-oxim-bovine serum albumen-FITC.
The criteria were: 1) the percentage of cells showing fluorescence; 2) the intensity of the fluorescence observed, and 3) the percentage of epithelial structures in tissue specimens. Using these predefined criteria in 132 human breast carcinomas a 91.6% agreement was found between the results of the histochemical assay and those of the biochemical Charcoal method. The main causes of disagreement (7 of the 11 cases) were sampling errors between the tissue specimens used for the histochemical and biochemical assay, and an insufficient percentage of epithelial structures (< 15%) to allow biochemical identification of estrogen receptor activity. In the hands of pathologists with experience in the field of histochemistry this histochemical assay may be the method of choice for the assessment of estrogen receptors.
Key wordsBreast carcinoma Estrogen receptors Immunohistochemistry Biochemistry
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