Androgen receptor expression and breast cancer survival in postmenopausal women

Rong Hu, Shaheenah Dawood, Michelle D. Holmes, Laura C. Collins, Stuart J. Schnitt, Kimberley Cole, Jonathan D. Marotti, Susan E. Hankinson, Graham A. Colditz, Rulla M. Tamimi

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233 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Androgen receptor (AR) is commonly expressed in breast cancers. However, the association between tumor AR status and breast cancer survival is uncertain. Hence, we examined the association between AR status and breast cancer survival in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS). Experimental Design: It was a prospective study of postmenopausal women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study with stage I to III breast cancer diagnosed between 1976 and 1997 and followed from the date of diagnosis until January 1, 2008 or death. Analyses were conducted using Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox proportional hazard models, to determine the association of AR status with survival outcomes adjusting for covariates. Results: Among 1467 breast cancers, 78.7% were AR-positive (AR+). Among 1,164 estrogen receptor (ER)-positive cases, 88.0% were AR+. AR positivity was associated with a significant reduction in breast cancer mortality (HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.47-0.99) and overall mortality (HR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.53-0.91) after adjustment for covariates. In contrast, among women with ER-negative tumors (303 cases), 42.9% were AR+. There was a nonsignificant association between AR status and breast cancer death (HR, 1.59; 95% CI, 0.94-2.68). Conclusions: The association of AR status and breast cancer survival is dependent on ER status. In particular, AR expression was associated with a more favorable prognosis among women with ER-positive tumors. Thus, determination of AR status may provide additional information on prognosis for postmenopausal women with breast cancer, and provide novel opportunities for targeted therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1867-1874
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Volume17
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

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