Survival benefit of tamoxifen in estrogen receptor-negative and progesterone receptor-positive low grade breast cancer patients

J Breast Cancer. 2012 Sep;15(3):288-95. doi: 10.4048/jbc.2012.15.3.288. Epub 2012 Sep 28.


Purpose: This study aimed to analyze the efficacy and prognostic significance of adjuvant tamoxifen in breast cancer patients with various hormone receptor statuses.

Methods: Typically, 1,260 female breast cancer patients were recruited in this study. The correlation between estrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PR) phenotypes and clinical characteristics was investigated, and the survival rate was assessed after 5-year follow-up.

Results: The 5-year overall survival (85%) was better in women under the age of 50 years. Patients with ER+/PR+ tumors had a better 5-year survival rate (94%); those with ER-/PR- tumors experienced the worst outcome (74% survival rate); whereas single-positive cases were in between. In 97 out of 128 patients with ER-/PR+ tumors, tamoxifen was given as adjuvant hormonal therapy, and it increased the survival benefit in the lower grade group in terms of overall survival and disease-free survival (p=0.01 and p=0.03, respectively).

Conclusion: For high-grade tumors with ER-/PR+, adjuvant tamoxifen therapy may have no survival benefit, whereas for the patients with low-grade ER-/PR+ tumors, adjuvant tamoxifen therapy is highly suggestive.

Keywords: Breast carcinoma; Estrogen receptor; Progesterone receptor; Tamoxifen.