Oestrogen receptor beta and neoadjuvant therapy with tamoxifen: prediction of response and effects of treatment

W R Miller, T J Anderson, J M Dixon, P T K Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to elucidate the relative importance of oestrogen receptor (ER)alpha, ERbeta and an ERbeta variant (ERbeta2/betacx) in the response of breast cancers to tamoxifen, tumour levels of each receptor were assessed in 36 patients before and after 3 months of neoadjuvant treatment with tamoxifen (20 mg daily). All patients were postmenopausal women presenting with large ERalpha-positive breast cancers. Clinical response to treatment was assessed by tumour volume changes as determined from sequential ultrasounds and pathological response by comparison of the tumour morphology before and after treatment. Of 33 cases, 23 (70%) were classified as having a clinical response and 16 (48%) as having a response pathologically. All tumours stained positively for ERalpha and ERbeta and 15 out of 33 (45%) for ERbeta2/betacx. There were no significant differences in quantitative expression of any receptor between tumours that subsequently responded and that did not, whether response was assessed clinically or pathologically. Tamoxifen treatment was associated with a decrease in ERalpha, but an increase was the most frequent change (17 out of 33) in ERbeta, and no consistent change was evident in staining of the ERbeta2/betacx variant. In summary, ERbeta1 and ERbeta2/betacx variant protein are detected in ERalpha-positive breast tumours but their expression is not associated with a response to tamoxifen. Differential changes in ERalpha and ERbeta were seen with treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1333-1338
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2006


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Estrogen Receptor beta
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Tamoxifen
  • Treatment Outcome


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