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Cancer Res. 1982 Nov;42(11):4763-70.

Distribution of myoepithelial cells and basement membrane proteins in the normal breast and in benign and malignant breast diseases.


An immunocytochemical method for fixed and paraffin-embedded human breast biopsies is reported for the detection of myoepithelial and epithelial cells using antibodies to myosin and keratin, respectively, and of basement membranes using antibodies to laminin and type IV collagen. Using these markers, myoepithelial cells can be clearly distinguished in the normal breast and in the benign breast diseases sclerosing adenosis, epitheliosis, and fibroadenoma. In sclerosing adenosis, myoepithelial cells form a major cellular component. A stromally derived spindle cell is identified which stains with myosin but not with keratin antibodies (myofibroblast). These cells are seen in one-fifth of the fibroadenomas. Although cells staining with myosin antibodies are seen in the infiltrating component of all 18 carcinomas examined, elongated cells staining with both myosin and keratin antibodies (myoepithelial-like) are seen in only one infiltrating carcinoma where they are interposed at the stromal-epithelial junction of the infiltrating tumor cells. In contrast to the situation in benign breast diseases, mature myoepithelial cells form a very minor component of the majority of infiltrating ductal carcinomas. Basement membrane proteins, laminin, and type IV collagen are present in normal breast, benign breast disease, and grade I infiltrating ductal carcinomas but are absent in carcinomas of grades II and III.

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