Background: In the Italian Breast Cancer Intergroup Studies (IBIS) 3 phase III trial, we compared cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil (CMF) alone to sequential epirubicin/CMF regimens in patients with rapidly proliferating early breast cancer (RPEBC). We performed a post hoc analysis in the subgroup of patients with hormone-receptor-positive RPEBC on the prognostic role of progesterone receptor (PgR) status. Methods: RPEBC was defined by thymidine labeling index (TLI) >3% or grade 3 or S-phase >10% or Ki67 >20%. We analyzed 466 patients with hormone-receptor-positive RPEBC receiving sequential epirubicin/CMF regimens followed by tamoxifen, and for whom the status of ER and PgR was available. Results: Considering both cut-off values of 10% and 20%, PgR expression was significantly associated with age, menopausal status, and ER expression; HER2 status was associated with PgR status only at a cutoff value of 20% PgR. Upon univariate analysis, tumor size, nodal status, and PgR were significantly associated with disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS), while age class and local treatment type were associated only with DFS. Patients with PgR <20% showed lower 5- and 10-year DFS [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.48; 95%CI: 1.01–2.18; p = 0.044] and OS (HR = 1.85; 95%CI: 1.08–3.19, p = 0.025) rates compared with patients with PgR ⩾20%. Upon multivariate analysis, only tumor size, nodal status, and PgR were independent prognostic factors. Conclusions: Our results highlight the independent prognostic relevance of PgR expression in patients with hormone-receptor-positive RPEBC treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and endocrine therapy, where the definition of prognostic subgroups is still a major need.
- hormone receptor-positive
- progesterone receptor
- rapidly proliferating breast cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas