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Metaplastic breast carcinomas are basal-like tumours

Authors

  • J S Reis-Filho,

    1. The Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre, Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK
    2. Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health Sciences, University of Minho, Braga
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  • F Milanezi,

    1. Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health Sciences, University of Minho, Braga
    2. IPATIMUP—Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
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  • D Steele,

    1. The Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre, Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK
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  • K Savage,

    1. The Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre, Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK
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  • P T Simpson,

    1. Molecular & Cellular Pathology, Mayne Medical School, University of Queensland, Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
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  • J M Nesland,

    1. The Norwegian Radium Hospital, University of Oslo, Montebello, Norway
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  • E M Pereira,

    1. Laboratório Salomão & Zoppi, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • S R Lakhani,

    1. Molecular & Cellular Pathology, Mayne Medical School, University of Queensland, Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
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  • F C Schmitt

    1. IPATIMUP—Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
    2. Porto Medical Faculty, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
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Jorge S Reis-Filho, The Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre, Institute of Cancer Research, Fulham Road, London SW3 6JB, UK.
e-mail: jorgerf@icr.ac.uk

Abstract

Aims : 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.

Conclusions : 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.

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