Epidermal-growth-factor receptor status as predictor of early recurrence of and death from breast cancer

Lancet. 1987 Jun 20;1(8547):1398-402. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(87)90593-9.


In 135 primary breast cancers, there was a significant inverse relation between epidermal-growth-factor receptor (EGFR) and oestrogen receptor (ER) status, and a significant association with tumour size and poor differentiation. The relapse-free survival and overall survival were significantly worse for patients with EGFR+ tumours compared with EGFR- tumours. Relapse-free survival and overall survival were also worse for patients with ER- tumours compared with ER+ tumours. Of the 71 ER- patients 28 were EGFR+ and 43 were EGFR-. The relapse-free and overall survival for ER- but EGFR+ patients were significantly worse than for "double-negative" patients. Moreover, relapse-free survival and overall survival for "double-negative" patients were similar to those for ER+ patients. Thus EGFR status divides the ER- population into good and poor prognosis subgroups. The presence of EGFR was the most important variable in the primary tumours for predicting relapse-free and overall survival. Multivariate analysis showed that EGFR status was the most important variable in predicting relapse-free and overall survival in lymph-node-negative patients, and the second most important variable in lymph-node positive patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Axilla
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local*
  • Prognosis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis*


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • ErbB Receptors