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Reduction of E-cadherin expression is associated with non-lobular breast carcinomas of basal-like and triple negative phenotype
  1. B Mahler-Araujo,
  2. K Savage,
  3. S Parry,
  4. J S Reis-Filho
  1. Molecular Pathology Laboratory, The Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre, Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK
  1. Jorge S Reis-Filho, The Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre, Institute of Cancer Research, 237 Fulham Road, London SW3 6JB, UK; Jorge.Reis-Filho{at}


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.