Recurrences of breast cancer are more responsive to hormone therapy if the tumors are positive for estrogen receptors or progesterone receptors. To assess the relationship between hormone receptor content, mammographic tumor morphology, and breast parenchymal patterns, we reviewed charts and mammograms of 210 patients with primary unilateral breast cancer. Mammograms of tumors in 97 patients were divided morphologically into five groups: (1) spiculated mass, (2) architectural distortion, (3) calcifications only, (4) circumscribed mass, and (5) tumor not visible. Estrogen receptor positivity was 81% (39/48) in group 1, 37% (7/19) in group 2, 17% (2/12) in group 3, 31% (4/13) in group 4, and 60% (3/5) in group 5 (P < .001). Mean estrogen receptor content was also significantly different among groups (P < .001). There was no statistically significant association between tumor morphology and progesterone receptors, or between calcifications and receptor status. In all 210 patients, hormone-receptor-positive tumors showed no association with mammographic parenchymal pattern. When direct assay of estrogen receptors is unavailable, mammographic appearance of the tumor may suggest the estrogen receptor status.
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