Pathologic changes in breast cancer after anti-estrogen therapy

Norasate Samarnthai, Richard M Elledge, Thomas J Prihoda, Jian Huang, Suleiman Massarweh, I. Tien Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Breast cancer patients do not commonly receive anti-estrogens prior to surgical excision. We reviewed a cohort of patients who received preoperative anti-estrogen therapy after baseline biopsy and then had a repeat biopsy after several weeks on treatment. Patients with estrogen receptor positive tumors received anastrozole and fulvestrant in combination with gefitinib. Core needle biopsies were performed at day 1 and 21, and tumors were completely excised if operable at day 112. All patients were postmenopausal. Following treatment, tumors had degenerative changes including smudged nuclei, decreased nuclear size, intranuclear vacuoles, vacuolated cytoplasm, and increased cellular discohesion. In addition, increased tubule formation and intracytoplasmic lumina were seen in 6/9 cases (66.7%) and decreased mitotic rate was demonstrated in 7/9 cases (77.8%). These findings indicate increased differentiation of the tumor cells in response to anti-estrogen therapy and that may correlate with clinical response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-366
Number of pages5
JournalBreast Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • anti-estrogen therapy
  • breast cancer
  • histopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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