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Breast Cancer Res. 2013 May 11;15(3):R37. doi: 10.1186/bcr3421.

Molecular apocrine breast cancers are aggressive estrogen receptor negative tumors overexpressing either HER2 or GCDFP15.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Molecular apocrine (MA) tumors are estrogen receptor (ER) negative breast cancers characterized by androgen receptor (AR) expression. We analyzed a group of 58 transcriptionally defined MA tumors and proposed a new tool to identify these tumors.

METHODS:

We performed quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) for ESR1, AR, FOXA1 and AR-related genes, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for ER, PR, Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2), CK5/6, CK17, EGFR, Ki67, AR, FOXA1 and GCDFP15 and we analyzed clinical features.

RESULTS:

MA tumors were all characterized by ESR1(-) AR(+) FOXA1(+) and AR-related genes positive mRNA profile. IHC staining on these tumors showed 93% ER(-), only 58% AR(+) and 90% FOXA1(+). 67% and 57% MA tumors were HER2(3+) and GCDFP15(+), respectively. Almost all MA tumors (94%) had the IHC signature HER2(3+) or GCDFP15(+) but none of the 13 control basal-like (BL) tumors did. Clinically, MA tumors were rather aggressive, with poor prognostic factors.

CONCLUSION:

MA tumors could be better defined by their qRT-PCR-AR profile than by AR IHC. In addition, we found that HER2 or GCDFP15 protein overexpression is a sensitive and specific tool to differentiate MA from BL in the context of ER negative tumors. A composite molecular and IHC signature could, therefore, help to identify MA tumors in daily practice.

PMID:
23663520
PMCID:
PMC4053236
DOI:
10.1186/bcr3421
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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