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Keywords:

  • estrogen receptor (ER);
  • radioligand;
  • immunohistochemical;
  • estrogen receptor-β;
  • fibromatosis;
  • desmoid

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Early experiments using ligand-binding assays demonstrated the presence of estrogen receptor (ER) in fibromatoses. These findings were not confirmed by later studies using immunohistochemical analysis.

METHODS

To verify the expression of ERs in fibromatosis as well as to clarify the inconsistency between radioligand and early immunohistochemical studies, the authors examined a series of 40 extraabdominal fibromatoses using antibodies raised against ERβ.

RESULTS

All 40 cases of extraabdominal fibromatosis were at least focally positive for ERβ. Thirty-three of 40 (83%) displayed 3+ (>50%) expression, 5 of 40 (12%) were 2+ (11–50%), and 2 of 40 (5%) cases showed 1+ (<10%) expression. All cases were negative for ERα.

CONCLUSIONS

Although extraabdominal fibromatosis does not express ERα, there appears to be nearly uniform expression of ERβ. This finding clarifies discrepancies in the literature regarding estrogen expression in fibromatosis, and provides a biological mechanism for the action of antiestrogenic compounds in the treatment of fibromatosis. Estrogen antagonists may have a role in the treatment of refractory or recurrent extraabdominal fibromatoses. Cancer 2006. © 2005 American Cancer Society.