Biochemical quantitation of estrogen receptors has been used to predict prognosis in breast cancer. Immunocytochemical analysis of estrogen receptors correlates with biochemical analysis but has very few follow-up studies in the literature to validate it as a prognostic indicator. 257 patients were followed for up to 10 years (median, 6.2 years) after primary surgical treatment. Estrogen receptor analysis using both biochemical and immunocytochemical techniques was performed on their tumor specimens. Patients with positive estrogen receptor values had longer survival than patients with negative values. This was demonstrated by both methods in the first 5 years of follow-up but only by immunochemistry after 5 years. The relationship between estrogen receptor status and disease-free interval was less strong than with survival. This study demonstrates that immunocytochemical estrogen receptor analysis was of prognostic significance.

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Supported by Grants NIH 1-R01-CA-39635-01A2 and 5-R01-CA-38989-02 and the Stead/Nicewonder Fellowship.

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