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Pathol Oncol Res. 2003;9(1):20-3. Epub 2003 Apr 18.

Is p63 reliable in detecting microinvasion in ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast?

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Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo (FMRP/USP), Brazil.


P63, a p53 homologue, is considered to be a marker of myoepithelial cells in breast tissue. This study was carried out to determine the sensitivity of p63 in detecting myoepithelial cells in DCIS and to compare the results obtained with smooth-muscle actin (1A4) in an attempt to verify the reliability of p63 as a possible marker of microinvasion in breast carcinoma. Fifteen DCIS of the breast were submitted to immunohistochemical analysis with anti-p63 and 1A4 antibodies and to a double immunolabeling study using p63 with 1A4. The double immunolabeling study showed that the same cells positive for p63 were also positive for 1A4. The three cases of DCIS with micro-invasion were negative for p63 and 1A4 in the foci of invasiveness. P63 staining was continuous in five of twelve cases of DCIS without microinvasion, being focal and discontinuous in 6 cases and completely negative in one case. Smooth-muscle actin staining was continuous in nine of twelve cases, including the five cases positive for p63. Smooth-muscle actin was focal and discontinuous in only two cases, which were also discontinuous for p63. The DCIS negative for p63 was also negative for 1A4. In conclusion, our results confirm the data of literature that p63 is a specific marker of myoepithelial cells in breast tissue. However, p63 is not as sensitive as 1A4 in staining myoepithelial cells and lack of p63 expression cannot be used as a reliable marker of invasiveness in ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast.

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