Frequency distributions of breast cancer characteristics classified by estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor status for eight racial/ethnic groups

Cancer. 2001 Jul 1;92(1):37-45. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(20010701)92:1<37::aid-cncr1289>;2-f.


Background: The National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) cancer registries have been collecting data regarding estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) status in breast cancer since 1990. The current study reports on some of these data for eight racial/ethnic groups.

Methods: Stratified by ER and PR status, the frequency distributions of 112,588 breast cancer cases diagnosed between 1992--1997 in 11 SEER cancer registries were examined by age at diagnosis, stage at diagnosis, histologic grade, and tumor type for white, black, Hispanic, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Native Hawaiian, and American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) females.

Results: For each racial/ethnic group, the percentage of ER positive (+)/PR+ was > ER-PR- > ER+PR- > ER-PR+ tumors. For the two major ER/PR groups, the ER+PR+ tumors were different from the ER-PR- tumors in several ways. For white females, there were differences in the age distributions, stage at diagnosis, and histologic grade. For black females, the differences involved the age distributions and tumor grades. For Hispanic and Japanese females, there were differences with regard to the age distributions and tumor grades. For Filipino, Chinese, and AI/AN females, the tumor stages and grades differed. For Native Hawaiians, the histologic tumor grades were different.

Conclusions: For each racial/ethnic group, the ER/PR status appeared to divide breast cancer patients into two or more subgroups with unique tumor characteristics. In general, ER status appeared to have the greatest impact on delineating these subgroups, whereas in some cases, PR status was able to modify the subgroups further. It is hoped that reporting these tumor characteristics by ER/PR status for each racial/ethnic group will spur more investigation into the significance of ER/PR status in each racial/ethnic group.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / classification
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone