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Korean J Pathol. 2012 Apr;46(2):169-76. doi: 10.4132/KoreanJPathol.2012.46.2.169. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

The clinicopathologic features of molecular apocrine breast cancer.

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Department of Pathology, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University Health System, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



To elucidate the clinicopathologic features and their implications on the immunohistochemistry in cases of molecular apocrine breast cancer (MABC).


Immunohistochemical (IHC) staining for estrogen receptor (ER), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), cytokeratin (CK) 5/6, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), androgen receptor (AR), gamma-glutamyltrasferase 1 (GGT1) and Ki-67 was performed on tissue microarray breast cancer samples from 204 patients. Phenotypes of breast cancer were divided based on the IHC status of ER, AR and GGT1 into the following: luminal type, ER positive and AR and/or GGT1 positive; basal type, ER, AR, and GGT1 negative; non-basal type, ER positive and AR and GGT1 negative; and MABC type, ER negative and AR and/or GGT1 positive.


In our series of patients (n=204), there were 26 cases of MABC. Besides, there were 18, 60, and 100 cases of luminal type, basal type and non-basal type, respectively. The MABC demonstrated apocrine histology and a higher prevalence of HER-2 positivity than other phenotypes. With the basal type, the MABC manifested a more frequent expression of CK5/6 and EGFR and a higher Ki-67 index than other phenotypes (p<0.001). There were no significant differences in patient prognosis between the phenotypes of breast cancer.


MABC are distinguishable from other phenotypes based on the apocrine histology and a higher expression rate of HER-2.


Breast neoplasms; Immunohistochemistry; Molecular apocrine

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