ER-negative diagnosis, ER-positive recurrence?


Question from AAnderson: I've heard of some women having ER-negative cancer on initial diagnosis and then a recurrence that is hormone-positive. How do we know we won't benefit from tamoxifen?
Answers - Kathy D. Miller, M.D. It is very unusual for an initial tumor to be ER-negative and the site of a recurrence to be ER-positive. That is so unusual, but it is more likely that one of the two ER tests was wrong, or you were given incorrect results. There have been several studies testing the impact of tamoxifen in women whose tumors are ER-negative, and it simply isn't effective.
Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. There are some patients who initially have an ER-negative cancer and later have another mass evaluated. There is always a question as to whether this is a recurrence of the initial breast cancer or a new breast cancer. One other possibility in this scenario is that there are two separate breast cancers. Nevertheless, as Dr. Miller explained, you don't routinely recommend tamoxifen as prophylaxis against development of ER-positive cancers in women with ER-negative tumors.

On Wednesday, November 19, 2005, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Hormone-Receptor-Negative Breast CancerKathy D. Miller, M.D., Marisa Weiss, M.D., and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answered your questions about a wide range of issues related to hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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