Get this one ER/PR negative girls!

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 693
   Posted 10/14/2004 9:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi -
Now for something to REALLY confuse us!
The latest issue of CURE magazine has an article about how great Tamox and Arimidex is and I was reading it like we read all those articles...
BUT! They had a side bar that said YOUR ER- TUMOR MAY NOT REALLY BE ER-! And then it said we could still benefit from those drugs! CURE can be read on-line. It is in the Estrogen article - I will look for the link and paste it later. said that there is a NEW WAY of testing the hormonal status of cancers and even tumors that are 1% positive mean that the woman can benefit from all those drugs.
This means that those who want to get the oophs are on the right track too!
I happen to have an appointment with my GYN tomorrow and I am bringing the magazine with me. And will report back.
After all this can this possibly be true?
And have we been at risk after all this time???

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 693
   Posted 10/14/2004 9:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Actually- here is the WHOLE thing:
Is My Tumor Truly Hormone Receptor-Negative?

By Susan Peck, PhD

The steroid hormones estrogen and progesterone stimulate the growth of normal breast tissue, as well as many tumors. This is because breast cells contain specialized proteins, called receptors, for these hormones. After binding the hormone, the estrogen receptor (ER) and the progesterone receptor (PR) turn genes involved in cell growth and survival on and off.

There are two ways to measure the amount of receptors in a tumor. The older method involved labeling the hormone with radioactivity and measuring the amount that bound to a tumor sample. Binding assays are quite accurate but require specialized lab equipment and larger amounts of sample. Also, contamination from non-tumor cells can skew results.

A second method, immunohistochemistry (IHC), is more commonly used today. A tumor sample is placed on a slide and incubated with an antibody, a specialized protein that recognizes the ER or PR. A color reaction makes the receptors visible under a microscope. This method can be performed on small samples and doesn’t require sophisticated lab procedures. But scoring and evaluation is subjective, and results can vary.

The amount of receptor on breast tumor cells can determine whether hormone therapy will be effective. In the past, some women who had a low level of ER or PR expression in their breast cancer cells were considered receptor-negative and thought not to benefit from hormonal therapy. It has now become clear that even low levels of hormone receptors may allow women to benefit from hormonal therapies like tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors. Currently, the most stringent cutoff point to be considered receptor-positive has been lowered. If a woman has as few as 1 percent of cells positive for hormone receptor by IHC, she may be given a trial of hormonal therapy.

Even within ER-positive tumors, there are subtypes with different prognoses. For example, when investigators in the ATAC (Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination) trial looked at patient subsets, they found that the decrease in relapses seen with Arimidex versus tamoxifen was even more dramatic in women with ER-positive/PR-negative tumors. These results need to be confirmed in a prospective trial.

Gene microarrays, a new tool to measure the expression of thousands of genes simultaneously, are being used to develop a system for classifying tumors. In the future, the “molecular fingerprint” of a tumor may allow us to conclusively determine the tumors most likely to benefit from hormonal therapies.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 857
   Posted 10/15/2004 4:01 PM (GMT -6)   
WHAT GREAT TIMING! I have my 6-mo onc follow up visit on MONDAY. I will print this and talk to her about it... I wonder if a tumor can be tested even 2 years later? I think I remember them saying at Duke that my tumor would be solidified in glass blocks? Is this routine? I'll have to ask.

thanks jessie!!!!
(ovaries, your time is limited!)
"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 734
   Posted 10/19/2004 8:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you, Jessie. I have an appointment with my breast surgeon next month for my mammagram and I will take this with me. Love, Di

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 693
   Posted 10/20/2004 9:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Stef and Di,
It IS fascinating isn't it???
I am going through a whole bunch of testing right now and when they are done I am going to bring this up ( assuming the tests all come out ok!)

I will be interested to hear what your doc's say.


Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2004
Total Posts : 340
   Posted 10/20/2004 3:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't know what test you are having but I pray that everthing is ok.
Love grammy
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