Aim: E-cadherin inactivation in breast cancer has been shown to be strongly associated with lobular breast cancer. However, little is known about the levels of E-cadherin expression according to the breast cancer “molecular” subtypes. The aim of this study was to address the distribution of E-cadherin expression according to the different molecular subtypes of breast cancer.
Methods: E-cadherin expression was immunohistochemically analysed in a tissue microarray containing duplicate cores of 245 invasive breast carcinomas, of which 182 cases were of non-lobular histology, using a semi-quantitative scoring system based on the percentage of cells showing membrane immunopositivity.
Results: In non-lobular breast carcinomas, reduced and/or negative E-cadherin expression was significantly associated with lack of oestrogen receptor expression, low levels of CCND1 expression, positivity for cytokeratins 5/6 and 17, epidermal growth factor receptor and caveolins 1 and 2, p53 expression, high MIB-1 proliferation indices, basal-like phenotype and triple negative phenotype.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that in the group of non-lobular breast cancers, reduction/lack of E-cadherin expression is preferentially found in basal-like breast carcinomas.
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Competing interests: None.
Funding: This work was funded by Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
Ethics approval: Ethics approval was obtained from The Royal Marsden Hospital Research Ethics Committee.
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