• basal-like breast carcinoma;
  • CD109;
  • estrogen receptor;
  • fat invasion;
  • HER2;
  • progesterone receptor

Breast cancer can be classified into several subtypes based on gene expression profiling. Basal-like breast carcinoma (BLC) has a triple negative phenotype, that is, the subtype lacks the estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). It has been recently reported that CD109, a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored cell surface protein, is a new breast myoepithelial marker. In the present study CD109 expression was investigated in invasive ductal carcinomas (IDC) of the breast on immunohistochemistry. Eighty-eight formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded breast carcinoma sections were immunostained with anti-CD109, anti-cytokeratin 5/6 (CK5/6), anti-calponin, anti-vimentin and anti-p63 antibodies. CD109 expression was detected in 18 of 30 basal-like breast carcinomas (BLC) but not in other types of 53 IDC (non-BLC) that were positive for ER, PgR and/or HER2. The percentage of CD109-positive tissues (60%) in BLC was similar to that of CK5/6 (63%) and higher than that of other myoepithelial markers including p63 (23%), calponin (33%) and vimentin (33%). Statistical analysis indicated that the CD109-positive group in BLC, but not the CK5/6-positive group in BLC, was associated with reduced fat invasion (P < 0.05). These findings indicate that CD109 is a useful diagnostic marker for BLC and that CD109 expression may affect biological properties of cancer cells.