J Clin Pathol 59:424-4248 doi:10.1136/jcp.2005.029264
  • Original article

c-myc Amplifications in primary breast carcinomas and their local recurrences

  1. S Aulmann1,
  2. N Adler1,
  3. J Rom2,
  4. B Helmchen1,
  5. P Schirmacher1,
  6. H P Sinn1
  1. 1Department of Pathology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  2. 2Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, University of Heidelberg
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr S Aulmann
    Department of Pathology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 220/221, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany; sebastian_aulmann{at}
  • Accepted 7 November 2005
  • Published Online First 23 February 2006


Objective: To evaluate the role of c-myc oncogene amplifications in the progression of invasive breast carcinomas.

Methods: c-myc gene copy number was evaluated in a series of 49 primary breast carcinomas and the corresponding local recurrences using fluorescence in situ hybridisation.

Results: 11 of the primary carcinomas (22%) harboured c-myc amplifications; these tumours typically were hormone receptor negative and occurred in younger patients (43 v 53 years). At the time of relapse, six additional tumours had acquired a c-myc amplification. The mean recurrence-free survival was 24 months; c-myc amplified tumours relapsed significantly earlier than carcinomas without amplification (18 v 27 months). Univariate analysis showed a worse overall survival in these patients.

Conclusions: While c-myc amplifications can be observed in early stage breast cancer, especially in younger patients, they often occur later in tumour development and appear to be associated with disease progression.