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Expression of high-molecular-weight cytokeratin (34βE12) is an independent predictor of disease-free survival in patients with triple-negative tumours of the breast
  1. Rutika Mehta1,
  2. Rohit K Jain1,
  3. Nour Sneige2,
  4. Sunil Badve1,
  5. Erika Resetkova2
  1. 1Department of Pathology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  2. 2Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Erika Resetkova, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Box 85, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030, USA; eresetko{at}


One-fifth of breast cancers have the triple-negative phenotype; a good prognostic marker has yet not been described for these tumours. Tumour microarrays from 58 triple-negative patients treated with surgery followed by chemotherapy were analysed for expression of cytokeratin 5/6 (CK5/6), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), vimentin, p63 and cytokeratin 34βE12. The mean patient age was 59.2 years with a follow-up from 39 to 168 months. Clinicopathological variables and survival data were correlated with biomarker expression. The frequency of expression of cytokeratin 5/6, EGFR, vimentin, p63 and 34βE12 was 33%, 65%, 50%, 19% and 85%, respectively. Each of 34βE12, p63, EGFR and T stage significantly correlated with both disease-free survival and overall survival. T stage and 34βE12 were independent predictors of overall survival in a multivariate analysis. Expression of 34βE12 predicts disease-free and overall survival in patients with triple-negative tumours. Additional studies are planned to confirm these initial findings.

  • Cytokeratins
  • triple-negative breast cancer
  • immunohistochemistry
  • antibodies
  • breast cancer
  • breast pathology
  • molecular pathology

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  • SB and ER contributed equally.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Institutional Review Board at both Indiana University and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.