Increased progesterone receptor expression in benign epithelium of BRCA1-related breast cancers
The study of pathologically normal breast epithelium of BRCA mutation carriers may yield insights into the early natural history of breast tumorigenesis. Hormone receptor expression was assessed in 24 cases of invasive breast cancer associated with a mutation in BRCA1 (n = 15) or BRCA2 (n = 9) and in 39 sporadic cases matched for patient age and tumor hormone receptor status. Expression of progesterone receptor was significantly (P = 0.0003) more common in normal breast epithelium adjacent to invasive breast carcinoma in BRCA1-linked cases compared with sporadic cases. The wild-type BRCA allele was retained in normal epithelium of all cases tested. We conclude that deregulation of progesterone receptor expression, as a result of BRCA1 haploinsufficiency, may represent an early event in BRCA1-linked breast tumorigenesis.