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Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Mar 1;12(5):1533-9.

Prognostic significance of basal-like phenotype and fascin expression in node-negative invasive breast carcinomas.

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Breast and Gynecological Cancer Group, Molecular Pathology Programme and Department of Human Genetics, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, Madrid, Spain.



Basal-like phenotype tumors are frequently found among BRCA1 germ-line mutated breast carcinomas. They are biologically aggressive and have a tendency towards visceral metastasis when untreated. Nevertheless, it has been suggested that they respond to chemotherapy better than other types of tumors. Fascin expression has been associated with lung metastasis in breast cancer. The aim of this study was to determine whether basal-like phenotype and fascin were related in both sporadic and familial tumors and with prognosis in node-negative sporadic breast cancers.


230 nonfamilial and 28 hereditary node-negative invasive breast carcinomas were immunohistochemically analyzed using tissue microarrays. Tumors that were estrogen receptor/HER2 negative and cytokeratin 5/6 and/or epidermal growth factor receptor positive were considered to have a basal-like phenotype.


A basal-like phenotype was found in 11.9% of sporadic cancers. Among patients not receiving adjuvant chemotherapy, a basal-like phenotype was associated with poor prognosis (P = 0.001, log-rank test) whereas no such association was found in patients receiving it. Tumors with a basal-like phenotype showed local recurrence (17.4%) or visceral metastasis (13%) but not bone metastasis (P = 0.001). Fascin expression was observed in 25.1% of sporadic invasive breast carcinomas and was associated with the basal-like phenotype, but not with prognosis or recurrence pattern. Fascin was expressed in 83.3% and 16.7% BRCA1- and BRCA2-associated carcinomas, respectively (P = 0.048).


Basal-like tumors had a tendency towards visceral metastasis and their prognosis was dependent on the use of postoperative chemotherapy. Although fascin expression was associated with the basal-like phenotype, it was not associated with their metastatic behavior. Fascin expression is frequent in BRCA1-associated tumors.

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