Background: To investigate the clinicopathological significance of androgen receptor (AR) expression in primary breast cancers. Patients and methods: We evaluated AR using immunohistochemistry from 413 whole sections from January 2008 to March 2009 and analyzed the relationship between AR and clinicopathological parameters. Tumors with ≥10% nuclear-stained cells were considered to be positive for AR. The differences among variables were calculated by chi-square test. Results: The expression rate of AR was 72.9% higher than those of estrogen receptors (ER) and progesterone receptors. AR expression was significant in patients with no elevated preoperative serum cancer antigen 15-3 levels, smaller tumor size, lower histologic grade and hormone receptor-positive and non-triple-negative breast cancer. However, AR expression was observed in 35% of triple-negative cancers. Metaplastic, medullary and mucinous types of carcinomas showed less AR expression. In the ER-negative subgroup, AR was significantly correlated with human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER-2) overexpression. Conclusions: AR is expressed in a significant number of breast cancers and is associated with lower tumor burden and favorable differentiation. There are many issues to be further investigated such as whether AR is an independent prognostic factor, whether it is a therapeutic target for the triple-negative breast cancers and whether it is associated with HER-2 signaling in ER-negative tumors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes