Owing to the gradual modification of breast tissue in postmenopausal women, there can be differential effects on local oestrogen receptor (ER) expression, with potential impingement on the biological behaviour of cancer cells in the ageing. A series of 45 ductal carcinoma (DC) cases were selected in postmenopausal women who were not being treated with HRT. Immunohistochemical analyses were performed for hormone receptors and Ki67 expression. Fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) analysis was carried out to study CCND1 amplification. The selected population was subdivided into three groups by age and was subjected to statistical studies: linear model analysis, estimation of relative incidence (RI), multivariate analysis, and nonparametric tests were performed to investigate whether there were any links between age and molecular variables in DCs. The results show a low rate of proliferation and high ER expression in the oldest age group. In the same group a close correlation was found between high ER expression and CCN in the older age group D1 amplification (P ¼ 0.000), as was a more advanced phenotype in terms of tumour size and presence of positive lymph nodes than in the other age groups considered. The results suggest that ductal breast cancer has a favourable molecular prognosis, especially in extreme old age. In particular, there is an inverse correlation between ageing and proliferation rate despite the presence of an accentuated proliferation stimulus (high ER with CCD1 amplifications) in the oldest group relative to the other groups considered. & 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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