Coexpression of estrogen receptor and β: Poor prognostic factors in human breast cancer

Valerie Speirs, Alicia T. Parkes, Michael J. Kerin, David S. Walton, Peter J. Carleton, John N. Fox, Stephen L. Atkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

221 Citations (Scopus)


The cloning of a second estrogen receptor (ER), ERβ, has prompted a reevaluation of the role of ERs in breast cancer. The aim of this study was to determine the expression of both ER isoforms in normal (n = 23) and malignant (n = 60) human breast tissue by reverse transcription-PCR and correlate this information with known prognostic factors including tumor grade and node status. In normal breast tissue, expression of ERβ predominated, with 22% of samples exclusively expressing ERβ; this was not observed in any of the breast tumor samples investigated. Most breast tumors expressed ERα, either alone or in combination with ERβ. Interestingly, those tumors that coexpressed ERα and ERβ were node positive (P = 0.02; Fisher's exact test) and tended to be of higher grade. Because antiestrogens are agonists when signaling through the AP1 element, overexpression of ERβ in tumors expressing both ER subtypes may explain the failure of antiestrogen therapy in some breast cancer patients. Thus, ERβ may be a useful prognostic factor in patients with breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-528
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Speirs, V., Parkes, A. T., Kerin, M. J., Walton, D. S., Carleton, P. J., Fox, J. N., & Atkin, S. L. (1999). Coexpression of estrogen receptor and β: Poor prognostic factors in human breast cancer. Cancer Research, 59(3), 525-528.