Significance of progesterone-receptor positive?

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Question from Judy P: I am triple-negative. I had a retest done where they found focal areas of progesterone-receptor positive. My oncologist put me on Arimidex -- said it wouldn't hurt. What is the significance of progesterone-receptor positive?
Answers - George Sledge, M.D. If we look at hormone receptor status, women who are estrogen-receptor negative but progesterone-receptor positive represent a true minority and a small minority of breast cancer patients, probably representing less than 5% of all breast cancer patients. Many pathologists looking at this issue feel that estrogen-receptor negative/progesterone-receptor positive may represent an artifact of pathology, i.e., an error in testing. The error could be in two ways -- one could be that the tumor is estrogen-receptor positive and progesterone-receptor positive or the tumor could be truly estrogen-receptor negative and progesterone-receptor negative. So if there is any serious question then it is always reasonable to ask the pathologist to cut another slice from the block and retest. From a treatment standpoint, if a tumor is estrogen-receptor negative and progesterone-receptor positive, it is reasonable to consider hormonal therapy, though one suspects that the benefit for such patients would be less with hormonal therapy than in a patient who is strongly estrogen-receptor positive or progesterone-receptor positive.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Triple-Negative Breast Cancer featured George Sledge, M.D. and Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about triple-negative breast cancer and its treatment.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of 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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