Triple receptor-negative breast cancer: imaging and clinical characteristics

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2012 Aug;199(2):458-64. doi: 10.2214/AJR.10.6096.


Objective: The objective of our study was to retrospectively evaluate the imaging findings of patients with breast cancer negative for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-so-called "triple receptor-negative cancer"-and to compare the mammographic findings and clinical characteristics of triple receptor-negative cancer with non-triple receptor-negative cancers (i.e., ER-positive, PR-positive, or HER2-positive or two of the three markers positive).

Conclusion: Triple receptor-negative cancer was most commonly an irregular noncalcified mass with ill-defined or spiculated margins on mammography and a hypoechoic or complex mass with an irregular shape and noncircumscribed margins on ultrasound. Most triple receptor-negative cancers were discovered on physical examination. Compared with non-triple receptor-negative cancers, triple receptor-negative cancers were found in younger women and were a higher pathologic grade.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Receptor, ErbB-2