Expression of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and Ki67 in normal breast tissue in relation to subsequent risk of breast cancer

NPJ Breast Cancer. 2016:2:16032. doi: 10.1038/npjbcancer.2016.32. Epub 2016 Oct 26.


Although expression of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and cell proliferation marker Ki67 serve as predictive and prognostic factors in breast cancers, little is known about their roles in normal breast tissue. Here in a nested case-control study within the Nurses' Health Studies (90 cases, 297 controls), we evaluated their expression levels in normal breast epithelium in relation to subsequent breast cancer risk among women with benign breast disease. Tissue microarrays were constructed using cores obtained from benign biopsies containing normal terminal duct lobular units and immunohistochemical stained for these markers. We found PR and Ki67 expression was non-significantly but positively associated with subsequent breast cancer risk, whereas ER expression was non-significantly inversely associated. After stratifying by lesion subtype, Ki67 was significantly associated with higher risk among women with proliferative lesions with atypical hyperplasia. However, given the small sample size, further studies are required to confirm these results.