Journal Article

Quantitation of androgen receptor gene expression in sporadic breast tumors by real-time RT–PCR: evidence that <i>MYC</i> is an AR-regulated gene

Ivan Bièche, Béatrice Parfait, Sengül Tozlu, Rosette Lidereau and Michel Vidaud

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 22, issue 9, pages 1521-1526
Published in print September 2001 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online September 2001 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Quantitation of androgen receptor gene expression in sporadic breast tumors by real-time RT–PCR: evidence that MYC is an AR-regulated gene

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  • Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics


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Little is known of the function and clinical significance of the androgen receptor (AR) in human breast cancer. Paradoxically, synthetic progestins, such as medroxyprogesterone acetate, are used for second line hormone therapy of breast cancer following tamoxifen failure. A sensitive and accurate assay for AR expression in breast tumors is thus required. Here we have developed and validated a real-time RT–PCR assay to quantify AR gene expression at the mRNA level in a series of 131 patients with unilateral invasive primary breast tumors. AR expression varied widely in tumor tissues (by at least 3 orders of magnitude), being underexpressed in 24/131 (18.3%) and overexpressed in 45/131 (34.4%) relative to normal breast tissues. We observed links (or trends) between AR status and age, menopausal status, Scarff–Bloom–Richardson histopathological grade, lymph node status and estrogen receptor α and progesterone receptor status. High AR mRNA levels were negatively linked to MYC gene overexpression (P = 8×10–6), confirming previous in vitro studies. Our results also suggest a role of the ARA70 gene (which encodes a major AR co-activator) in the AR pathway dysregulation observed in breast cancer. This simple, rapid and semi-automated method will be useful for screening cancer patients for altered AR expression and for predicting the response to androgen therapy in AR-related cancer patients.

Keywords: AR, androgen receptor; ER, estrogen receptor; PR, progesterone receptor; MPA, medroxyprogesterone acetate; SBR, Scarff–Bloom– Richardson.

Journal Article.  4490 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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