Inflammatory Breast Cancer: Relevance of Androgen Receptor Expression

Yun Gong, M.D. Associate Professor Department of Pathology, Unit 53 M D Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX Interview with:
Yun Gong, M.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Pathology, Unit 53
M D Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX 77030 What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Gong:  Androgen receptor (AR) was positive in 39% of the inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) tumors, approximately one-third of estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and progesterone receptor (PR)-negative tumors and 42.6% triple-negative tumors. AR positivity was significantly associated with lymphovascular invasion but not with other clinicopathologic parameters. There was a trend toward association between AR expression and PR expression.

Univariate survival analysis indicated that patients with AR-negative/ER-negative tumors had significantly worse overall survival and disease-specific survival than the patients with tumors showing other combinations of AR/ER status (i.e., AR-negative/ER-positive, AR-positive/ER-negative,  or AR-positive/ER-positive). Notably, the study was performed using post-neoadjuvant IBC surgical specimens. Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Gong: Positive AR expression was significantly associated with lymphovascular invasion. What should clinicians and patients take away from this study?

Dr. Gong:  Our findings suggest that AR expression in ER-negative breast carcinoma including inflammatory breast cancer may be of therapeutic significance in view of the fact that these patients do not respond to conventional anti-ER therapies and often have a significantly worse prognosis than do those with ER-positive ones. For patients with AR-positive inflammatory breast cancer tumors, AR-modulated therapeutic approach may add to the existing treatment to improve the patients’ outcome. In fact, several clinical trials with AR targeted therapy are currently underway to evaluate their efficacy in women with AR-positive/ER-negative/PR-negative metastatic breast cancers, although the results have not published.  What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of your study?

Dr. Gong:  Further study with a larger series (better to use pre-treated tumor tissue ) is recommended to delineate the biologic mechanisms of AR and their clinical significance in IBC tumors.


Expression of androgen receptor in inflammatory breast cancer and its clinical relevance.

Gong Y1, Wei W, Wu Y, Ueno NT, Huo L.

Cancer. 2014 Mar 13. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28667. [Epub ahead of print]


Last Updated on April 24, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD