Archives of Surgery

Estrogen Receptor Protein of Breast Cancer in Patients With Positive Nodes: High Recurrence Rates in the Postmenopausal Estrogen Receptor—Negative Group

View publication


In 448 patients with positive axillary lymph nodes who were treated with mastectomy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, from 1973 to 1978, estrogen receptor (ER) status was associated with survival. With a median follow-up of 75 months, significant differences were noted in the 288 postmenopausal patients; ER-positive patients had better six-year disease-free survival than ER-negative patients (60% vs 45%), as well as better overall survival. These differences were true in subgroups with one to three and four or more involved nodes. The addition of adjuvant systemic therapy had no significant effect on either ER-positive or ER-negative patients. The need for new imaginative systemic programs in the subgroup of ER-negative postmenopausal patients with breast cancer with positive nodes is apparent. © 1987, American Medical Association. All rights reserved.