Metaplastic breast carcinomas are basal-like tumours

Reis-Filho, J. S., Milanezi, F., Steele, D., Savage, K., Simpson, P. T., Nesland, J. M., Pereira, E. M., Lakhani, S. R. and Schmitt, F. C. (2006) Metaplastic breast carcinomas are basal-like tumours. Histopathology, 49 1: 10-21. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2559.2006.02467.x

Author Reis-Filho, J. S.
Milanezi, F.
Steele, D.
Savage, K.
Simpson, P. T.
Nesland, J. M.
Pereira, E. M.
Lakhani, S. R.
Schmitt, F. C.
Title Metaplastic breast carcinomas are basal-like tumours
Journal name Histopathology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0309-0167
Publication date 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2006.02467.x
Volume 49
Issue 1
Start page 10
End page 21
Total pages 12
Place of publication Oxford, UK
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject C1
321020 Pathology
730108 Cancer and related disorders
1103 Clinical Sciences
1112 Oncology and Carcinogenesis
Formatted abstract

Recently, an immunohistochemical panel comprising antibodies against HER2, oestrogen receptor (ER), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and cytokeratin (CK) 5/6 was reported to identify basal-like breast carcinomas, as defined by cDNA microarrays. Our aim was to analyse a series of metaplastic breast carcinomas (MBCs) using this panel plus two other basal markers (CK14 and p63) and progesterone receptor (PR), to define how frequently MBCs show a basal-like immunophenotype.

Methods and results: 

Sixty-five cases were retrieved from the pathology archives of the authors' institutions and reviewed by three of the authors. Immunohistochemistry with antibodies for HER2, ER, EGFR, CK5/6, CK14 and p63 was performed according to standard methods. All but six cases (91%) showed the typical immunoprofile of basal-like tumours (ER– and HER2–, EGFR+ and/or CK5/6+). When CK14 and p63 were added to the panel, two additional cases could be classified as basal-like. The majority of MBCs lacked PR, except 4/19 (21%) carcinomas with squamous metaplasia.


Our results demonstrate that MBCs show a basal-like phenotype, regardless of the type of metaplastic elements. Moreover, as these neoplasms frequently overexpress EGFR (57%), patients with MBC may benefit from treatment with anti-EGFR drugs.

Keyword Cell Biology
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (her1)
Sarcomatoid carcinoma
Invasive ductal carcinomas
Central acellular zones
Myoepithelial differentiation
Squamous metaplasia
P63 expression
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
2007 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 196 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 225 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 07:56:41 EST