“Basal” breast cancers are dominating the breast research literature at present and pathologists are under increasing pressure to evaluate for such a phenotype by their surgical and oncological colleagues. There is also much confusion about how to assess cancers, which immunohistochemical markers to use, what meaning and benefit this provides, and what the surgeons and oncologists will do with the information. Much remains to be done to answer all these questions but here we try to shed light on some of the issues and suggest what is still to come.
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Competing interests: None declared.