• breast;
  • breast neoplasms;
  • androgen;
  • androgen receptor;
  • phosphorylation


Androgen receptor (AR) expression in breast cancers may serve as a prognostic and predictive marker. We examined the expression pattern of AR and its phosphorylated forms, Ser-213 (AR-Ser[P]-213) and Ser-650 (AR-Ser[P]-650), in breast cancer and evaluated their association with clinicopathological parameters.


Immunohistochemistry was performed on primary and distant metastatic breast cancers and benign breast tissue using antibodies against AR, AR-Ser(P)-213, and AR-Ser(P)-650. The levels of cytoplasmic and nuclear expression were scored semiquantitatively using a histoscore.


Nuclear staining of AR was observed in all benign breast tissue and 67% of cancer cases. Nuclear and cytoplasmic AR-Ser(P)-213 was increased in breast cancers 2-fold (P = .0014) and 1.7-fold (P = .05), respectively, compared with benign controls, whereas nuclear and cytoplasmic AR-Ser(P)-650 expression was decreased in tumors by 1.9-fold and 1.7-fold (both P < .0001), respectively. Increased expression of nuclear or cytoplasmic AR-Ser(P)-213 was observed in metastatic breast cancers (1.3-fold, P = .05), ER-negative (2.6-fold, P = .001), and invasive ductal carcinoma (6.8-fold, P = .04). AR-Ser(P)-650 expression was downregulated in lymph node-positive breast cancers (1.4-fold, P = .02) but was upregulated in invasive ductal carcinomas (3.2-fold, P < .0001) and metastases (1.5-fold, P = .003). Moreover, in ER-negative breast cancers, nuclear AR-Ser(P)-650 was decreased (1.4-fold, P = .005), and cytoplasmic AR-Ser(P)-650 was increased (1.4-fold, P = .003).


AR and its phosphorylation at serines 213 and 650 are differentially expressed in breast cancer tumorigenesis and progression. Phosphorylation of AR at serines 213 and 650 is increased in ER-negative breast cancers, ductal carcinomas, and metastases and may have predictive value in breast cancer prognosis. Cancer 2013;119:2532–2540. © 2013 American Cancer Society.