The ESR1 gene maps 6q25 and encodes for oestrogen receptor alpha, which has been shown to play a pivotal role in the development of breast and endometrial cancer. It has recently been reported that oestrogen receptor alpha expression may be driven in some cases by ESR1 gene amplification and that this phenomenon may be an early event in breast and endometrial carcinogenesis. Although copy number gains of 6q have been reported by several groups, their prevalence, association with oestrogen receptor alpha expression, and clinical implications have been a matter of controversy. Here we discuss the key issues regarding the methods employed in the identification of ESR1 amplification, and briefly review the current literature and recent controversies on the subject of ESR1 amplification in endometrial and breast cancers.
(c) 2008 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.