Progesterone receptor loss identifies Luminal B breast cancer subgroups at higher risk of relapse

Ann Oncol. 2013 Mar;24(3):661-8. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mds430. Epub 2012 Sep 28.


Background: The immunohistochemical (IHC) evaluation of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), Ki-67 and HER2 is considered a surrogate means for identifying the molecular subtypes of breast cancer with different prognosis.

Patients and methods: We explored patterns of recurrence in 4837 women with breast cancer defined as Luminal B (ER-positive and/or PgR-positive, HER2 positive and/or Ki-67≥14%) by IHC classification. We evaluated four subgroups within the Luminal B subtype according to HER2 expression and PgR status.

Results: Patients within the ER+/PgR+/HER2- subgroup presented a 5-year breast cancer-related survival (BCS) of 97% (95% confidence interval (CI), 96-97) and overall survival (OS) of 95% [95% CI, 95-96], the best survivals of the Luminal B subgroups. In the multivariate analysis, the ER+/PgR-/HER2- subgroup was associated with a reduced BCS (HR 1.71; 95%CI, 1.25-2.35) and OS (HR 1.47; 95%CI, 1.10-1.96) when compared with the ER+/PgR+/HER2- subgroup. Also patients within the ER+/PgR-/HER2+ subgroup had a reduced BCS (HR 1.93; 95%CI, 1.32-2.83) and OS (HR 1.62; 95%CI, 1.14-2.30) when compared with ER+/PgR+/HER2- subgroup. On the other hand, no statistically significant differences were found with regard to BCS and OS among patients with ER+/PgR+/HER2+ and patients with ER+/PgR+/HER2- disease.

Conclusions: PgR loss identifies Luminal B breast cancer subgroups at higher risk of relapse and death, both with HER-2-positive and HER-2-negative disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / metabolism*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2