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Reappraisal of immunohistochemical profiling of special histological types of breast carcinomas: a study of 121 cases of eight different subtypes
  1. César Augusto Alvarenga1,2,
  2. Paula Itagyba Paravidino1,2,
  3. Marcelo Alvarenga2,
  4. Madalena Gomes1,
  5. Rozany Dufloth3,
  6. Luiz Carlos Zeferino4,
  7. José Vassallo5,6,
  8. Fernando C Schmitt1,7
  1. 1IPATIMUP: Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
  2. 2Instituto de Patologia de Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
  3. 3Department of Pathology, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil
  4. 4Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
  5. 5Laboratory of Investigative and Molecular Pathology, State University of Campinas Medical School (UNICAMP), Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
  6. 6Department of Pathology of the Hospital do Cancer A C Camargo, Fundação Antonio Prudente, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
  7. 7Department of Pathology and Oncology, Medical Faculty, Porto University, Porto, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Professor Fernando C Schmitt, IPATIMUP: Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto, Rua Dr Roberto Frias s/n, Porto 4200-465, Portugal; fernando.schmitt{at}


Histological special types (HST) account for about 25% of breast cancers, and correspond to at least 17 pathological entities. However, their molecular characteristics remain to be determined. The purpose of the present study is to apply the recently used immunohistochemical profiling of HST breast carcinomas (BC), as a surrogate for the molecular subtyping, what could be relevant for therapeutic purposes. One hundred and twenty-one cases were included. Immunohistochemical study was performed on paraffin sections, including markers for oestrogen, progesterone and androgen receptors, keratin 5, HER2/neu, epithelial growth factor receptor, p63 protein, P-cadherin, and Ki-67. Tubular (16 cases), mucinous (27) and papillary (9) types were all categorised as luminal-like A and B. The medullary (21) and metaplastic (10) types corresponded largely to the basal-like tumours (85.7% and 90%, respectively). Cases of the micropapillary type (8) were luminal A (3/8), luminal B (4/8) and HER2 overexpressing (1/8), whereas the apocrine carcinomas (24) presented a heterogeneous profile. The proliferation rate (Ki-67) varied among the types, being the medullary carcinoma subtype with higher proliferation. Comparing the current data with those based on molecular studies, there was good agreement in the classification of the tubular, mucinous and papillary types. Only a partial concordance was achieved for the other types, which may be due to sampling, and to the relatively low frequency of such cases. The present work supports the clinical usage of immunohistochemistry as a surrogate to molecular classification of special types of BC.

  • Breast Cancer
  • Molecular Pathology
  • Immunohistochemistry

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