Stains
Progesterone receptor (PR)

Author: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 15 December 2015, last major update January 2013

Copyright: (c) 2002-2015, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Progesterone receptor [title]

Definition / General
Uses by Pathologists
  • In breast cancer, predicts response to tamoxifen or other anti-estrogens, only weakly associated with prognosis
    • However, compared to ER, PR staining adds only a limited amount of additional predictive information for response to hormonal therapy (Mod Pathol 2004;17:1545)
  • For metastatic tumors with unknown primary, relatively specific for breast origin (but numerous exceptions)
  • Often discordance between staining in core biopsies versus resections (Ann Oncol 2009;20:1948)
Micro Images

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Breast, invasive ductal carcinoma

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Cervix, metastatic breast cancer

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Kidney, mixed epithelial & stromal tumor

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Uterus, endometrial polyp



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Bladder, metastatic breast cancer

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Breast: invasive ductal carcinoma

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CNS, meningioma

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Stomach, metastasis from breast

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Uterus, endometrial stromal sarcoma

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Uterus (left to right): leiomyoma, atypical leiomyoma, STUMP

Positive Staining - Normal
  • Breast epithelial cells, Toker cells; endocervical epithelial cells
Positive Staining - Disease
  • Breast: fibroadenoma (stromal cells), myofibroblastoma, phyllodes tumors (epithelial cells), pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia
  • Breast carcinoma (usually well differentiated tumors, lobular, mucinous/colloid, sebaceous); endometrial adenocarcinoma (75-96%)
  • Cervical carcinoma: endometrioid, minimal deviation
  • Endometriosis (glands and stroma)
  • Kidney: mixed epithelial and stromal tumor
  • Liver: biliary cystadenoma (stroma), hepatic adenoma
  • Lymphangiomyomatosis
  • Ovarian tumors: endometrioid, ependymoma, fibroma, granulosa cell (juvenile), mucinous borderline-endocervical type; serous (50%)
  • Soft tissue aggressive angiomyxoma, angiomyofibroblastoma, cellular angiofibroma
  • Solitary fibrous tumor
  • Uterus: endometrial carcinoma, endometrial stromal tumors, leiomyoma, STUMP (Diagn Pathol 2012;7:1)
Negative Staining
  • Breast: apocrine metaplasia and carcinomas, microglandular adenosis, myoepithelium and myoepithelial tumors
  • Breast carcinomas-various (triple negative, including adenosquamous, basal-like, BRCA1-related, medullary, metaplastic; also lipid-rich)
  • Endocervical adenocarcinoma, ovarian clear cell carcinoma
  • Salivary gland intraductal and other carcinomas
  • Soft tissue: fibromastosis
  • Uterus: serous carcinoma