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Immunohistochemical detection of steroid receptors in breast cancer: a working protocol
  1. Robin Leake1,
  2. Diana Barnes2,
  3. Sarah Pinder3,
  4. Ian Ellis3,
  5. Liz Anderson4,
  6. Tom Anderson5,
  7. Ruth Adamson6,
  8. Tony Rhodes7,
  9. Keith Miller7,
  10. Rosemary Walker8,
  11. on behalf of the UK Receptor Group, UK NEQAS, the Scottish Breast Cancer Pathology Group, and the Receptor and Biomarker Study Group of the EORTC
  1. 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Davidson Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
  2. 2ICRF Breast Pathology Laboratory, Guy's Hospital, London SE1 9RT, UK
  3. 3Department of Histopathology, City Hospital, Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK
  4. 4Clinical Research Department, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Wilmslow Road, Manchester M20 4BX, UK
  5. 5Department of Pathology, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK
  6. 6Area Laboratories, Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock KA2 0BE, UK
  7. 7Department of Histopathology, UCL Medical School, Rockefeller Building, University Street, London WC1E 6JJ, UK
  8. 8Department of Pathology, Clinical Sciences Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, PO Box 65, Leicester LE2 7LX, UK
  1. Professor Leake e-mail: R.Leake{at}


The biochemical assay for the oestrogen receptor has shown the clinical value of knowing the concentration of the receptor within tissue. The immunohistochemical assay is rapidly taking over from the biochemical assay. Therefore, it is vital to have an equivalent scoring system that will have the same predictive value. This paper reports both a practical protocol and a scoring system that should achieve this aim. This approach should be applicable to many more biomarkers detected by immunohistochemistry.

  • breast cancer
  • oestrogen receptor
  • tamoxifen
  • immunohistochemistry
  • external quality control

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