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13.02.2019 | Epidemiology | Ausgabe 2/2019 Open Access

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 2/2019

Real-world data on discordance between estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 receptor expression on diagnostic tumor biopsy versus tumor resection material

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment > Ausgabe 2/2019
A. M. Sofie Berghuis, Carolien H. M. van Deurzen, Hendrik Koffijberg, Leon W. M. M. Terstappen, Stefan Sleijfer, Maarten J. IJzerman
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The estrogen (ER), progesterone (PR), and HER2 status are essential in guiding treatment decisions in breast cancer patients. In daily life, the ER/PR/HER2 status is expected to be commonly tested twice, i.e., at diagnosis using material from tumor needle biopsies, and after tumor resection using full tumor tissue material. This study explored the discordance of ER/PR/HER2 between tumor needle biopsies and full tumor resection material using real-world patient-level data from Dutch breast cancer patients.


Pathology reports of 11,054 breast cancer patients were derived from PALGA (Dutch Pathology Registry). Discordance was calculated for multiple combinations of the ER/PR/HER2 receptor status. The influence of patient and tumor characteristics on the probability of having discordant test results was analyzed using multiple logistic regression models (separately for ER, PR and HER2).


For 1279 patients (14.4%), at least one of the receptors (ER/PR/HER2) was determined on both biopsy and tumor tissue material. The majority had concordant test results for ER (n = 916; 94.8%), PR (n = 1170; 86.7%), and HER2 (n = 881; 98.1%). Patients having an ER- and HER2-positive but PR-negative biopsy classification, BR grade III, and < 10% tumor tissue remaining after neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) have the highest probability of ER discordant test results (OR 4.991; p = 83.31%). The probability of discordance in PR is based on different sets of patient and tumor characteristics. Potential cost savings from omitting multiple tests if concordance can be perfectly predicted can be up to €205,000 yearly.


Double testing of ER/PR/HER2 is less common than expected. Discordance in ER/PR/HER2 test results between tumor needle biopsy taken at the time of diagnosis and tumor resection material is very low, especially in patients not receiving any form of neoadjuvant therapy. These results imply that a substantial number of tests can potentially be omitted in specific subgroups of breast cancer patients.

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