Progesterone receptor determined by immunocytochemical and biochemical methods in human breast cancer

Giampietro Gasparini, Franco Pozza, Ruggero Dittadi, Salvatore Meli, Stefania Cazzavillan, Pierantonio Bevilacqua

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Immunocytochemical assay (ICA) of the progesterone receptor (PgR) was performed on 152 patients with stage I-II breast cancer. We employed the rat monoclonal antibody KD-68 and a peroxidase/antiperoxidase displaying system. The results obtained by ICA (PgRICA) were compared with those by the biochemical dextrancoated charcoal assay (PgRDCC). Comparing the two methods we found an overall agreement (accuracy) of 77.5%, a PgRICA sensitivity of 83.5% and a specificity of 73%. Both methods were significantly associated with oestrogen receptor expression, detected by DCC (PDCC and P=0.0014 for PgRICA). No significant association was found between PgRICA or PgRDCC and the other clinicopathological features analysed. After a median follow-up of 36 months, the overall survival probability was 91% in PgRDCC-positive versus 81.5% in PgRDCC-negative patients (log-rank test, χ2=0.91) compared to 87.5% in PgRICA-positive versus 82% in PgRICA-negative ones (log-rank test, χ2=0.93). Disease-free survival probability was 74.5% in both PgRDCC-positive and PgRDCC-negative patients (log-rank test, χ2=0.02) compared to 78% in PgRICA-positive versus 71.5% in PgRICA-negative cases (log-rank test, χ2=0.37). The present study demonstrates that ICA is a reliable method to detect PgR, correlating well with the DCC assay. Moreover, the ICA assay seems to provide clinical information complementary to the biochemical method. The definition of its prognostic value in operable breast cancer needs additional studies, particularly in node-negative patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-563
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1992


  • Breast cancer
  • Progesterone receptor
  • prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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