Prior studies have demonstrated that androgen receptor is expressed in many breast cancers, but its expression in relation to the various breast cancer subtypes as defined by molecular profiling has not been studied in detail.
We constructed tissue microarrays from 3,093 breast cancers that developed in women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study. Tissue microarray sections were immunostained for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, human epidermal growth factor receptor2, cytokeratin 5/6, epidermal growth factor receptor and androgen receptor. Immunostain results were used to categorize each cancer as luminal A or B, HER2 and basal-like. The relationships between androgen receptor expression and molecular subtype were analyzed.
Overall, 77% of the invasive breast carcinomas were androgen receptor positive. Among 2,171 invasive cancers, 64% were luminal A, 15% luminal B, 6% HER2 and 11% basal-like. The frequency of androgen receptor expression varied significantly across the molecular phenotypes (p<0.0001). In particular, androgen receptor expression was commonly observed in luminal A (91%) and B (68%) cancers, but was less frequently seen in HER2 cancers (59%). Despite being defined by the absence of estrogen and progesterone receptor expression and being considered hormonally unresponsive, 32% of basal-like cancers expressed androgen receptor. Among 246 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ, 86% were androgen receptor-positive, but the frequency of androgen receptor expression differed significantly across the molecular phenotypes (p=0.001) and high nuclear grade lesions were less likely to be androgen receptor-positive compared with lower grade lesions.
Androgen receptor expression is most commonly seen in luminal A and B invasive breast cancers. However, expression of androgen receptor is also seen in approximately one-third of basal-like cancers, providing further evidence that basal-like cancers represent a heterogeneous group. Our findings raise the possibility that targeting the androgen receptor pathway may represent a novel therapeutic approach to the management of patients with basal-like cancers.
Basal breast cancer comprises ~15% of invasive ductal breast cancers, and presents as high-grade lesions with aggressive clinical behavior. Basal breast carcinomas express p63 and cytokeratin 5 (CK5) antigens characteristic of the myoepithelial lineage, and typically lack Her2/neu and hormone receptor expression. However, there is limited data about the precursor lesions from which they emerge. Here we wished to determine whether comedo-ductal carcinoma in situ (comedo-DCIS), a high-risk in situ breast lesion, serve as precursors for basal-like breast cancer. To determine this link, p63, CK5, Her2/neu, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PgR) expression were analyzed by immunohistochemistry in 17 clinical comedo- and 12 noncomedo-DCIS cases, and in tumors derived from unfractionated and CK5-overexpressing subpopulation (MCF10DCIS.com-CK5high) of MCF10DCIS.com cells, a model representative of clinical comedo-DCIS. p63 and Her2/neu coexpression was analyzed by immunofluorescence double labeling. A novel p63/CK5/Her2/neu expressing subpopulation of cells that are ER−/PgR−/EGFR− were identified in the myoepithelial and luminal areas of clinical comedo-DCIS and tumors derived from unfractionated MCF10DCIS.com and MCF10DCIS.com-CK5high cells. These data suggest that p63 and Her2/neu expressors may share a common precursor intermediate. P63, but not Her2/neu, expression was significantly associated (P = 0.038) with microinvasion/recurrence of clinical comedo-DCIS, and simultaneous expression of p63 and Her2/neu was marginally associated (P = 0.067) with comedo-DCIS. These data suggest that p63/Her2/neu expressing precursor intermediate in comedo-DCIS may provide a cellular basis for emergence of p63+/Her2/neu- or p63+/Her2/neu+ basal-like breast cancer, and that p63/Her2/neu coexpression may serve as biomarkers for identification of this subgroup of basal-like breast cancers.
breast cancer; p63; Her2/neu; cytokeratin; EGFR
Biological markers that predict the development of invasive breast cancer are needed to improve personalized therapy for patients diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ. We investigated the role of basal cytokeratin 5/6 in the risk of invasion in breast ductal carcinoma in situ.
We constructed tissue microarrays using 236 ductal carcinoma in situ samples: 90 pure samples (group 1) and 146 samples associated with invasive carcinoma (group 2). Both groups had similar nuclear grades and were obtained from patients of similar ages. The groups were compared in terms of estrogen (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) status, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expression, cytokeratin 5/6 immunostaining, human epidermal growth factor receptor 1 (EGFR) membrane staining and molecular subtype, as indicated by their immunohistochemistry profiles.
ER/PR-negative status was predictive of invasion, whereas HER2 superexpression and cytokeratin 5/6-positive status were negatively associated with invasion. Among the high-grade ductal carcinoma in situ cases, a triple-positive profile (positive for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2) and cytokeratin 5/6 expression by neoplastic cells were negatively associated with invasion. In the low-grade ductal carcinoma in situ subgroup, only cytokeratin 5/6 expression exhibited a negative association with the probability of invasion.
The immunohistochemical expression of cytokeratin 5/6 by ductal carcinoma in situ epithelial cells may provide clinically useful information regarding the risk of progression to invasive disease.
Breast Cancer; Ductal Carcinoma In Situ; Immunohistochemistry; Prognosis; Basal Cytokeratin
Carcinosarcoma of the breast, often referred to as metaplastic carcinoma of the breast, is a rare malignancy with two distinct cell lines described as a breast carcinoma of ductal type with a sarcoma-like component. Clinically, carcinosarcoma of the breast is an aggressive breast cancer. The prognosis for carcinosarcoma of the breast is less favorable compared to more common types of breast cancer such as infiltrating ductal or lobular carcinoma. Currently, the evaluation of breast carcinoma includes hormone receptor analysis of the tumor tissue, with those positive for estrogen or progesterone responding better to both hormonal and chemotherapy.
Trastuzumab (Herceptin®) is available as an adjunct treatment for tumors which over-express the HER2/neu gene. Typically, metaplastic carcinomas of the breast do not express the estrogen or progesterone receptors and do not over-express the HER2/neu oncogene. As a result of this "triple negative" phenotype, such tumors tend to be more aggressive and are unlikely to respond to targeted therapy with Herceptin. The epidermal growth factor receptor HER-1/EGFR protein is expressed in the majority of metaplastic carcinomas and thus may serve as a potential therapeutic target for EGFR inhibitors such as gefitinib and cetuximab. The two cases we describe exemplify the aggressive nature of carcinosarcoma of the breast and support the findings that this tumor type does not express the common receptors found in other breast carcinomas. These case reports also emphasize the need for investigating the role for blockade of the HER-1/EGFR receptor with targeted therapies when found to be over-expressed in the primary tumor.
Hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, and their receptors play an important role in the development and progression of ovarian carcinoma. Androgen, its receptor and coactivators have also been implicated in these processes. p44/Mep50/WDR77 was identified as a subunit of the methylosome complex and lately characterized as a steroid receptor coactivator that enhances androgen receptor as well as estrogen receptor-mediated transcriptional activity in a ligand-dependent manner. We previously described distinct expression and function of p44 in prostate, testis, and breast cancers. In this report, we examined the expression and function of p44 in ovarian cancer. In contrast to findings in prostate and testicular cancer and similar to breast cancer, p44 shows strong cytoplasmic localization in morphologically normal ovarian surface and fallopian tube epithelia, while nuclear p44 is observed in invasive ovarian carcinoma. We observed that p44 can serve as a coactivator of both androgen receptor (AR) and estrogen receptor (ER) in ovarian cells. Further, overexpression of nuclear-localized p44 stimulates proliferation and invasion in ovarian cancer cells in the presence of estrogen or androgen. These findings strongly suggest that p44 plays a role in mediating the effects of hormones during ovarian tumorigenesis.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is characterized by the lack of estrogen and progesterone receptors and the lack of HER2 expression or amplification. Much interest has recently been focused on these triple-negative (TN) subtypes because they may be aggressive and are more likely to recur and metastasize than other subtypes of breast cancer. TNBC accounts for approximately 10-24% of all breast cancer cases, and typically it occurs in younger patients and in patients with BRCA1 mutation. There is a substantial heterogeneity of TNBCs both at the morphological and the molecular level, but there are also common features, such as low tumor grade and accelerated tumor proliferation. Morphologically, TNBC may present as invasive ductal, metaplastic, medullary, apocrine, or other types. Molecularly, they are most frequently associated with a basal phenotype, but there is a distinct subgroup of cancers that are not of basal type and belong to the claudin-low or molecular-apocrine type. The basal phenotype is frequently associated with the loss of BRCA1.
Breast cancer; molecular subtypes
Androgen receptors (AR) are frequently expressed in breast cancers, but their implication in cancer growth is still controversial. In the present study, we further investigated the role of the androgen/AR pathway in breast cancer development.
AR expression was evaluated by immunochemistry in a cohort of 528 postmenopausal breast cancer patients previously examined for the association of serum testosterone levels with patient and tumor characteristics. AR expression was classified according to the percentage of stained cells: AR-absent (0%) and AR-poorly (1%-30%), AR-moderately (>30%-60%), and AR-highly (>60%) positive.
Statistical analysis was performed in 451 patients who experienced natural menopause. AR-high expression was significantly related with low histologic grade and estrogen receptor (ER)- and progesterone receptor (PR)-positive status (P trend<0.001). Mean testosterone levels were significantly higher in the AR-high category than in the other categories combined (P=0.022), although a trend across the AR expression categories was not present. When women defined by ER status were analyzed separately, regression analysis in the ER-positive group showed a significant association of high testosterone levels with AR-highly-positive expression (OR 1.86; 95% CI, 1.10-3.16), but the association was essentially due to patients greater than or equal to 65 years (OR 2.42; 95% CI, 1.22-4.82). In ER-positive group, elevated testosterone levels appeared also associated with AR-absent expression, although the small number of patients in this category limited the appearance of significant effects (OR 1.92; 95% CI, 0.73–5.02): the association was present in both age groups (<65 and ≥65 years). In the ER-negative group, elevated testosterone levels were found associated (borderline significance) with AR-absent expression (OR 2.82, 95% CI, 0.98-8.06). In this ER-negative/AR-absent subset of tumors, elevated testosterone levels cannot stimulate cancer growth either directly or after conversion into estrogens, but they probably induce increased synthesis of some other substance that is responsible for cancer growth through binding to its specific receptor.
The findings in the present study confirm that testosterone levels are a marker of hormone-dependent breast cancer and suggest that the contemporary evaluation of ER status, AR expression, and circulating testosterone levels may identify different subsets of cancers whose growth may be influenced by androgens.
Androgen receptors; Androgens; Postmenopausal breast cancer; Testosterone levels
Background: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is heterogeneous and considered as an aggressive tumor. This study was to evaluate the associated classification and its correlations with prognosis and the response to chemotherapy in Chinese women. Methods: Four hundred and twenty-eight cases of invasive TNBC were involved in this study. The expression of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and cytokeratin 5/6 (CK5/6), Ki67 and p53 were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and compared with patient outcome, and its implications and chemotherapy response were evaluated in four subgroups: typical medullary carcinoma (TMC), atypical medullary carcinoma (AMC), non-specific invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and other types. Results: The factors of tumor grade, tumor stage, lymph node status, EGFR/CK5/6 status and p53 labeling index were different among the groups. TMC tumors had the lowest rate of relapse (5.8%), while AMC, IDC and other types were associated with an increased risk of relapse (19.1%, 26.7% and 38.2% respectively). Many factors were risk predictors of relapse for TNBC and IDC, while only positive lymph node was for AMC. For MC tumors, adjunctive chemotherapy decreased the risk of relapse in lymph node positive subgroup (36.8% and 66.7%), while not significant in lymph node negative one (8.1% and 10.0%). Conclusion: The classification based on histologic and IHC findings may be a significant improvement in predicting outcome in TNBC. The different chemotherapy response in subgroups may contribute to guiding the treatment of TNBC.
Triple negative breast cancer; typical medullary carcinoma; atypical medullary carcinoma; relapse; chemotherapy
Breast cancer outcome, including response to therapy, risk of metastasis and survival, is difficult to predict using currently available methods, highlighting the urgent need for more informative biomarkers. Androgen receptor (AR) has been implicated in breast carcinogenesis however its potential to be an informative biomarker has yet to be fully explored. In this study, AR protein levels were determined in a cohort of 73 Grade III invasive breast ductal adenocarcinomas.
The levels of Androgen receptor protein in a cohort of breast tumour samples was determined by immunohistochemistry and the results were compared with clinical characteristics, including survival. The role of defects in the regulation of Androgen receptor gene expression were examined by mutation and methylation screening of the 5' end of the gene, reporter assays of the 5' and 3' end of the AR gene, and searching for miRNAs that may regulate AR gene expression.
AR was expressed in 56% of tumours and expression was significantly inversely associated with 10-year survival (P = 0.004). An investigation into the mechanisms responsible for the loss of AR expression revealed that hypermethylation of the AR promoter is associated with loss of AR expression in breast cancer cells but not in primary breast tumours. In AR negative breast tumours, mutation screening identified the same mutation (T105A) in the 5'UTR of two AR negative breast cancer patients but not reported in the normal human population. Reporter assay analysis of this mutation however found no evidence for a negative impact on AR 5'UTR activity. The role of miR-124 in regulating AR expression was also investigated, however no evidence for this was found.
This study highlights the potential for AR expression to be an informative biomarker for breast cancer survival and sets the scene for a more comprehensive investigation of the molecular basis of this phenomenon.
Androgen receptor; Prognostic biomarker; Breast cancer; Gene regulation; Promoter methylation; Regulatory mutation; MiRNA
Vimentin is one of the cytoplasmic intermediate filament proteins which are the major component of the cytoskeleton. In our study we checked the usefulness of vimentin expression in identifying cases of breast cancer with poorer prognosis, by adding vimentin to the immunopanel consisting of basal type cytokeratins, estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 receptors.
179 tissue specimens of invasive operable ductal breast cancer were assessed by the use of immunohistochemistry. The median follow-up period for censored cases was 90 months.
38 cases (21.2%) were identified as being vimentin-positive. Vimentin-positive tumours affected younger women (p = 0.024), usually lacked estrogen and progesterone receptor (p < 0.001), more often expressed basal cytokeratins (<0.001), and were high-grade cancers (p < 0.001). Survival analysis showed that vimentin did not help to delineate basal type phenotype in a triple negative (ER, PgR, HER2-negative) group. For patients with 'vimentin or CK5/6, 14, 17-positive' tumours, 5-year estimated survival rate was 78.6%, whereas for patients with 'vimentin, or CK5/6, 14, 17-negative' tumours it was 58.3% (log-rank p = 0.227).
We were not able to better delineate an immunohistochemical definition of basal type of breast cancer by adding vimentin to the immunopanel consisted of ER, PgR, HER2, CK5/6, 14 and 17 markers, when overall survival was a primary end-point.
Triple negative breast cancers are an aggressive subtype of breast cancer with poor survival, but there remains little known about the etiological factors which promote its initiation and development. Commonly inherited breast cancer risk factors identified through genome wide association studies (GWAS) display heterogeneity of effect among breast cancer subtypes as defined by estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) status. In the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Consortium (TNBCC), 22 common breast cancer susceptibility variants were investigated in 2,980 Caucasian women with triple negative breast cancer and 4,978 healthy controls. We identified six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) significantly associated with risk of triple negative breast cancer, including rs2046210 (ESR1), rs12662670 (ESR1), rs3803662 (TOX3), rs999737 (RAD51L1), rs8170 (19p13.11) and rs8100241 (19p13.11). Together, our results provide convincing evidence of genetic susceptibility for triple negative breast cancer.
genetic susceptibility; neoplasms; association study; subtypes; common variant
Metaplastic breast carcinoma is a rare aggressive malignant neoplasm. The purposes of this study are to review the pathologic features and clinical outcomes of metaplastic breast carcinoma compared to invasive ductal carcinoma and to evaluate the prognosis of metaplastic breast carcinoma.
The cases of 55 patients with metaplastic breast carcinomapresenting between 1991 and 2006 were analyzed and compared to the cases of 767 age-matched patients with invasive ductal carcinoma from the same time period.
The group of patients with metaplastic breast carcinoma presented with a larger tumor size, lower lymph node involvement, higher percentage of triple-negative (estrogen receptor-, progesterone receptor- and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2-negative) cases, and Ki-67 over-expression compared with the group of patients with invasive ductal carcinoma and triple-negative invasive ductal carcinomas. Patients in the metaplastic breast carcinoma group tended to have more local (often chest wall) recurrences (P = 0.038) and distant (often lung) metastases (P = 0.001) than those in the invasive ductal carcinomas group. The prognosis of metaplastic breast carcinoma was poorer than that of invasive ductal carcinoma and triple-negative invasive ductal carcinomas; the 5-year overall survival rate was 54.5% in metaplastic breast carcinoma versus 85.1% in invasive ductal carcinoma, and 73.3% in triple-negative invasive ductal carcinomas (P <0.001). The 5-year disease-free survival rate was 45.5% in metaplastic breast carcinoma versus 71.2% in invasive ductal carcinoma, and 60.3% in triple-negative invasive ductal carcinomas (P <0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed tumor size larger than 5.0 cm, lymph node involvement and Ki-67≥14% were significantly related to 5-year overall survival (P = 0.010; P = 0.010; P = 0.035) and 5-year disease-free survival (P = 0.020; P = 0.018; P = 0.049).
Metaplastic breast carcinoma shows a poorer prognosis than both invasive ductal carcinoma and triple-negative invasive ductal carcinomas. Tumor size larger than 5.0 cm, lymph node involvement and Ki-67 ≥14% indicate a poor prognosis in patients with metaplastic breast carcinoma.
Breast cancer; Clinical outcomes; Metaplasia; Pathologic features; Prognosis
Estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) expression are crucial in the biology of breast carcinoma. HER-2/neu gene is amplified and overexpressed in 15-30% of invasive breast cancers. HER-2-positive breast cancers have worse prognosis than HER-2 negative tumors and possess distinctive clinical features. The aim of this study was to assess the expression of HER2 in cancer tissue of patients with invasive breast cancer in correlation with tumor type, histological grade, tumor size, lymph node status, and expression of estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor.
Material and methods
Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues from 40 patients with invasive HER-2-positive breast cancer and from 191 patients with HER-2-negative breast cancer were used in this study. HER2 expression was determined using the test HerceptTest™ DAKO.
Among 231 cases of breast cancer, 18 invasive lobular carcinomas and 213 invasive ductal carcinomas were diagnosed. Sixty percent of HER-2-positive breast cancers were ER-positive compared with 77% in the HER-2-negative group (p = 0.002). The expression of PR was observed in 43% of HER-2-positive breast cancers and in 72% of HER2-negative tumors (p = 0.003). Excessive expression of HER2 protein was detected in 60% of patients positive for estrogen receptors, which may worsen prognosis in these patients.
Determination of HER2 overexpression in breast cancer patients, allows for a determination of a group of patients with a worse prognosis.
invasive ductal carcinoma; invasive lobular carcinoma; human epidermal growth factor receptor 2; estrogen receptor; progesterone receptor
The molecular classification for breast carcinomas has been used in clinical studies with a simple surrogate panel of immunohistochemistry (IHC) markers. The objective of this current project was to study the molecular classification of commonly used breast cancer cell lines by IHC analysis. Seventeen breast cancer cell lines were harvested, fixed in formalin and made into cell blocks. IHC analyses were performed on each cell block with antibodies to estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), HER2, EGFR, CK5/6, Ki-67 and androgen receptor (AR). Among the 17 cell lines, MCF-7 and ZR-75-1 fell to Luminal A subtype; BT-474 to Luminal B subtype; SKBR-3, MDA-MD-435 and AU 565 to HER2 over-expression subtype; MDA-MB-231, MCF-12A, HBL 101, HS 598 T, MCF-10A, MCF-10F, BT-20, 468 and BT-483 to basal subtype. MDA-MB-453 belonged to Unclassified subtype. Since each subtype defined by this IHC-based molecular classification does show a distinct clinical outcome, attention should be paid when choosing a cell line for any study.
molecular classification; breast cancer; cell lines; immunohistochemistry
Breast cancers are traditionally divided into hormone-receptor positive and negative cases. This classification helps to guide patient management. However, a subgroup of hormone-receptor positive patients relapse irrespective of hormonal therapy. Gene expression profiling has classified breast tumours into five major subtypes with significant different outcome. The two luminal subtypes, A and B, show high expression of ESR1, GATA3 and FOXA1 genes. Prognostic biomarkers for oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive cases include progesterone receptor (PR) and androgen receptor (AR), and proteins related to proliferation or apoptotic resistance. The aim of this study was to identify the best predictors of success of hormonal therapy.
By immunohistochemistry we studied 10 markers in a consecutive series of 832 cases of breast carcinoma treated at the Paoli-Calmettes Institute from 1990 to 2002 and deposited onto tissue microarrays (TMA). These markers were luminal-related markers ER, PR, AR, FOXA1 and GATA3 transcription factors, proliferation-related Ki67 and CCND1, ERBB2, anti-apoptotic BCL2 and P53. We also measured vascular peritumoural invasion (VPI), size, grade and lymph node involvement. For 143 cases, gene expression profiles were available. Adjuvant chemotherapy and hormonal therapy were given to high- and low-risk patients, respectively. The 162 events observed and taken into account were metastases.
Molecular expression of the 10 parameters and subtype with ER status were strongly correlated. Of the 67 luminal A cases of this series, 63 were ER-positive. Multivariate analyses showed the highly significant prognostic value of VPI (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.47), Ki67 (HR = 2.9), P53 (HR = 2.9) and GATA3 (HR = 0.5) for the 240 patients who received hormonal therapy.
A panel of three antibodies (Ki67, P53 and GATA3) associated with VPI can significantly improve the traditional prognosticators in predicting outcome for ER-positive breast cancer patients receiving hormonal therapy.
Women with ductal hyperplasia including usual ductal hyperplasia (UDH) and atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) have an increased risk of developing invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) of breast. The importance of several molecular markers in breast cancer has been of considerable interest during recent years such as p53 and estrogen receptor alpha (ERα). However, p53 nuclear accumulation and ERα expression have not been assessed in ductal hyperplasia co-existing with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or IDC versus pure ductal hyperplasia without DCIS or IDC.
Materials and methods
We investigated p53 nuclear accumulation and ERα expression in breast ductal hyperplasia in a cohort of 215 Chinese women by immunohistochemistry (IHC), which included 129 cases of pure ductal hyperplasia, 86 cases of ductal hyperplasia co-existing with DCIS (41 cases) or IDC (45 cases).
Nuclear p53 accumulation was identified in 22.8% of ADH (31/136), 41.5% of DCIS (17/41) and 42.2% of IDC (19/45), and no case of UDH (0/79). No difference in nuclear p53 accumulation was observed between pure ADH and ADH co-existing with DCIS (ADH/DCIS) or IDC (ADH/IDC) (P > 0.05). The positive rate of ERα expression was lower in ADH (118/136, 86.8%) than that in UDH (79/79, 100%) (P < 0.001), but higher than that in DCIS (28/41, 68.3%) or IDC (26/45, 57.8%) respectively (P < 0.001). The frequency of ERα expression was lower in ADH/DCIS (23/29, 79.31%) and ADH/IDC (23/30, 76.67%) than that in pure ADH (72/77, 93.51%) respectively (P < 0.05). There was a negative weak correlation between p53 nuclear accumulation and ERα expression as for ADH (coefficient correlation -0.51; P < 0.001).
Different pathological types of ductal hyperplasia of breast are accompanied by diversity in patterns of nuclear p53 accumulation and ERα expression. At least some pure ADH is molecularly distinct from ADH/CIS or ADH/IDC which indicated the two types of ADH are molecularly distinct entities although they have the same morphological appearance.
Maspin is a unique serine proteinase inhibitor that has tumor suppressor activity. It has been reported that maspin is expressed in normal human mammary epithelial cells and it is down-regulated during the progression of cancer. However, to date, there is very limited data on the clinical significance of maspin expression in human breast cancer. In this study, maspin expression was assessed immunohistochemically from 80 invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) specimens of the breast. Also, maspin expression was compared with the clinicopathological factors (age, grade, tumor size and lymph node status), the expression of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and p53, DNA ploidy and the overall survival in an attempt to assess its prognostic value. The maspin expression was positive in 25 IDC cases (31.3%). The maspin expression in IDC was significantly correlated with a higher histologic grade, a larger tumor size, a positive p53 status and shorter survival. There was an inverse association with maspin expression and the PR status. These findings suggest that maspin expression is not down-regulated with the progression of cancer and maspin expression may be associated with a poor prognosis. The immunohistochemical detection of maspin in breast cancers may be helpful for predicting an aggressive phenotype.
Serpins; Immunohistochemistry; Prognosis; Breast Neoplasms
The provasopressin protein (proAVP) is expressed by invasive breast cancer and non-invasive breast cancer, or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Here we demonstrate the ability of the monoclonal antibody MAG1 directed against the C-terminal end of proAVP to identify proAVP in all cases examined of human invasive cancer and DCIS (35 and 26, respectively). Tissues were chosen to represent a relevant variation in tumor type, grade, patient age, and menopausal status. By comparison, there was 65% positive staining for estrogen receptor, 61% for progesterone receptor, 67% for nuclear p53, and 39% for c-Erb-B2 with the invasive breast cancer sections. Reaction with the normal tissue types examined (67) was restricted to the vasopressinergic magnocellular neurons of the hypothalamus, where provasopressin is normally produced, and the posterior pituitary, where these neurons terminate. The breast epithelial tissue sections on the tissue microarray did not react with MAG1. Previously, we demonstrated that polyclonal antibodies to proAVP detected that protein in all breast cancer samples examined, but there was no reaction with breast tissue containing fibrocystic disease. The results presented here not only expand upon those earlier results, but they also demonstrate the specificity and effectiveness of what may be considered a more clinically-relevant agent. Thus, proAVP appears to be an attractive target for the detection of invasive breast cancer and DCIS, and these results suggest that MAG1 may be a beneficial tool for use in the development of such strategies.
invasive breast cancer; ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS); vasopressin; provasopressin; monoclonal antibody
Microsatellite instability (MSI) is a form of genetic instability that results from defects in DNA mismatch repair. MSI is reported to be rare in unselected breast cancers, however it is a common feature in subsets of colorectal, ovarian and endometrial cancers. In these anatomical sites, MSI-high carcinomas often display a mucinous histology. The aim of this study was to determine whether mucinous carcinomas of the breast would more frequently display MSI-high than invasive ductal carcinomas of no special type (IDC-NSTs). The expression of four MSI markers (i.e. MSH2, MSH6, MLH1 and PMS2) was immunohistochemically assessed in 35 mucinous breast carcinomas and 35 histological grade- and oestrogen receptor (ER) status-matched IDC-NSTs, and in a series of 245 invasive breast cancers. Cases were considered as potentially MSI-high if tumour cells lacked expression of at least two MSI markers and internal controls displayed nuclear staining. Nine mucinous carcinomas were microdissected and subjected to MSI analysis by PCR using the MSI markers BAT26 and BAT40. No immunohistochemical evidence of MSI-high was found in the 35 mucinous carcinomas and 35 grade- and ER-matched IDC-NSTs, and in the cohort of 245 invasive breast cancers. In addition, no evidence of MSI-high was observed by PCR analysis using the BAT26 and BAT40 markers in the nine mucinous carcinomas tested. Our results demonstrate that MSI-high phenotype is remarkably rare in invasive breast cancer, and that, in contrast to mucinous carcinomas of other anatomical sites, MSI is not a common event in mucinous carcinomas of the breast.
Mucinous carcinoma; breast cancer; mismatch repair; microsatellite instability; immunohistochemistry; genetics
Although a high frequency of androgen receptor (AR) expression in human breast cancers has been described, exploiting this knowledge for therapy has been challenging. This is in part because androgens can either inhibit or stimulate cell proliferation in pre-clinical models of breast cancer. In addition, many breast cancers co-express other steroid hormone receptors that can affect AR signaling, further obfuscating the effects of androgens on breast cancer cells.
To create better-defined models of AR signaling in human breast epithelial cells, we took estrogen receptor (ER)-α-negative and progesterone receptor (PR)-negative human breast epithelial cell lines, both cancerous and non-cancerous, and engineered them to express AR, thus allowing the unambiguous study of AR signaling. We cloned a full-length cDNA of human AR, and expressed this transgene in MCF-10A non-tumorigenic human breast epithelial cells and MDA-MB-231 human breast-cancer cells. We characterized the responses to AR ligand binding using various assays, and used isogenic MCF-10A p21 knock-out cell lines expressing AR to demonstrate the requirement for p21 in mediating the proliferative responses to AR signaling in human breast epithelial cells.
We found that hyperactivation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway from both AR and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling resulted in a growth-inhibitory response, whereas MAPK signaling from either AR or EGFR activation resulted in cellular proliferation. Additionally, p21 gene knock-out studies confirmed that AR signaling/activation of the MAPK pathway is dependent on p21.
These studies present a new model for the analysis of AR signaling in human breast epithelial cells lacking ERα/PR expression, providing an experimental system without the potential confounding effects of ERα/PR crosstalk. Using this system, we provide a mechanistic explanation for previous observations ascribing a dual role for AR signaling in human breast cancer cells. As previous reports have shown that approximately 40% of breast cancers can lack p21 expression, our data also identify potential new caveats for exploiting AR as a target for breast cancer therapy.
To evaluate the c-kit expression in breast cancer, 217 invasive ductal carcinomas of the breast were immunohistochemically stained for c-kit protein. The c-kit expression was positive in 59 (27%) of 217 tumours, while the c-kit expression was negative in 158 (73%) of 217 tumours. There was a significant correlation between a negative expression of the c-kit protein and lymph node metastasis (P<0.0001), and the incidence of a negative expression of the c-kit protein increased as the number of the metastatic lymph nodes increased (P=0.0003). The c-kit expression did not significantly correlate with the tumour size, nuclear grade, oestrogen receptor status, MIB-1 counts and p53 protein expression. A univariate analysis indicated the patients with the negative c-kit expression to have a worse disease-free survival (DFS) than those with the positive c-kit expression (P=0.0041), while a multivariate analysis determined lymph node metastases and the MIB-1 counts to be independently significant factors for DFS. In conclusion, a loss of the c-kit expression was found in about three-fourth of invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast and was associated with lymph node metastases. The prognostic implications of the c-kit expression seem to be due to fact that a loss of the c-kit expression is associated with an advanced stage of breast cancer.
breast cancer; c-kit; prognosis
The neurotensin (NTS) and its specific high affinity G protein coupled receptor, the NT1 receptor (NTSR1), are considered to be a good candidate for one of the factors implicated in neoplastic progression. In breast cancer cells, functionally expressed NT1 receptor coordinates a series of transforming functions including cellular migration and invasion.
Methods and Results
we investigated the expression of NTS and NTSR1 in normal human breast tissue and in invasive ductal breast carcinomas (IDCs) by immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR. NTS is expressed and up-regulated by estrogen in normal epithelial breast cells. NTS is also found expressed in the ductal and invasive components of IDCs. The high expression of NTSR1 is associated with the SBR grade, the size of the tumor, and the number of metastatic lymph nodes. Furthermore, the NTSR1 high expression is an independent factor of prognosis associated with the death of patients.
these data support the activation of neurotensinergic deleterious pathways in breast cancer progression.
We analyzed the subgross distribution of the invasive component in 875 consecutive cases of breast carcinomas using large-format histology sections and compared the immunophenotype (estrogen and progesterone receptor expression, HER2 overexpression and expression of basal-like markers, CK5/6, CK14, and epidermal growth factor receptor) in unifocal, multifocal, and diffuse tumors. Histology grade and lymph node status were also analyzed. Unifocal invasive carcinomas comprised 58.6% (513/875), multifocal invasive carcinomas 36.5% (319/875), and diffuse invasive carcinomas 4.9% (43/875) of the cases. The proportion of lymph node-positive cases was significantly higher in multifocal and diffuse carcinomas compared to unifocal cancers, but no other statistically significant differences could be verified between these tumor categories. Histological multifocality and diffuse distribution of the invasive tumor component seem to be negative morphologic prognostic parameters in breast carcinomas, independent of the molecular phenotype.
Fine needle aspiration (FNA) is a rapid tool for detection of breast carcinomas. Evaluation of estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER, PR) and HER2 expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) are routinely performed in breast carcinomas. Formalin fixation of tissue for a minimum of 6 hours, and for HER2 not more than 48 hours is the current recommended practice. In this retrospective study, we compared ER, PR and HER2 expression in breast carcinomas using archival ethanol-fixed FNA cell block with formalin fixed resection tissue block preparations. 34 archival breast carcinoma FNA cell blocks of primary origin with subsequent resection tissue blocks were identified retrospectively. All 34 cases were diagnosed as invasive ductal carcinoma. Cases with neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy were excluded. Cell blocks were initially fixed in 50% ethanol (4–12 hrs), followed by formalin fixation (minimum 6 hrs). Tissue blocks were formalin-fixed within 4–8 hrs for 6–48 hrs. ER, PR, and HER2 IHC results on the cell blocks and tissue blocks were compared. Alcohol fixed cell block samples for detection of ER and PR by IHC show good agreement with tissue block samples and are therefore a reliable method (weighted Kappa of 0.773 and 0.785, respectively) to triage patients for hormonal treatment. However, HER2 results show only moderate agreement with a weighted kappa of 0.571. The increase in discrepant results may be due to ethanol fixation which results in false positive increased HER2 expression. These results demonstrate the importance of adherence to the College of American Pathologists/ASCO guidelines for HER2 IHC.
ER; PR; HER2; breast carcinoma; fine needle aspiration; cell block; formalin fixation; alcohol fixation; immunohistochemistry
Our study is performed to find out clinicopathlogic and immunohistochemical (IHC) characteristics of triple negative invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), as has been demonstrated in their invasive ductal counterparts.
Materials and Methods
Retrospective analysis of variable clinicopathlogic parameters and IHC stains for androgen receptor, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, p53, c-kit, galectin-3, cytokeratin 5 (CK5), CK5/6, vimentin, E-cadherin, epidermal growth factor receptor, and HER2 were performed in 117 cases of ILC.
Eight cases (6.8%) were triple negative carcinoma (TNC), which showed higher incidence of high histologic grade than non-TNC (p = 0.019). Galectin-3 was expressed with higher incidence in tumor cells of TNC (62.5%) than those of non-TNC (7.3%) (p = 0.000). In contrast, galectin-3 was expressed with higher incidence in stromal cells of non-TNC (53.2%) than those of TNC (12.5%) (p = 0.029). CK5 and CK5/6 were not expressed in all ILCs.
TNC in ILC showed distinct clinicopathologic and IHC characteristics such as higher histologic grade and increased expression of galectin-3, compared to non-TNC in ILC. TNC in ILC was less frequent and did not show CK5 and CK5/6 expression when compared to TNC in invasive ductal carcinoma.
Carcinoma; lobular; triple negative breast cancer