Basal phenotype of ductal carcinoma in situ: recognition and immunohistologic profile

David J Dabbs, Mamatha Chivukula, Gloria Carter, Rohit Bhargava
Modern Pathology 2006, 19 (11): 1506-11
The basal phenotype of breast carcinoma was demonstrated from a study of gene expression profiles, which demonstrated five carcinoma phenotypes with differing immunohistologic profiles and outcomes. The basal phenotype, so-named because of an immunohistologic profile that is similar to myoepithelial cells of the breast, has poor outcomes. While the invasive basal phenotype has been described, there is a paucity of literature regarding the existence or recognition of a precursor lesion. We searched our CoPath database for breast carcinomas in the age group of 37 years or less, and this yielded 98 cases from the years 2001 to April 2006. Pathology reports were screened for those cases that were negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors and HER-2/neu (triple negative). A total of 16 cases (16/98, 16%) fulfilled these criteria. Histology was reviewed and immunostains were performed for Cytokeratins 14, 17, and 5/6, vimentin, EGFR, c-kit, smooth muscle actin and p63. All 16 cases had a high-grade invasive ductal carcinoma, Nottingham score 9/9, with geographic necrosis, good circumscription and lymphoid infiltrates. Of the 16 cases, 13 exhibited at least one area of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The DCIS types were solid, flat or micropapillary, high nuclear grade, with comedonecrosis and invariably associated with intense lymphoid inflammatory cell infiltration. Of 16 invasive cases, 14 (88%) were positive for CK14, CK17, CK5/6 and EGFR; 94% were vimentin positive, while half or less of cases were positive for smooth muscle actin, c-kit or p63. All of the DCIS components demonstrated the same immunohistologic profile as the invasive component. A DCIS component of solid, flat or micropapillary type exists in the basal phenotype of breast carcinoma, and it demonstrates the same immunophenotype as the invasive carcinoma, typically positive for CK5/6, CK14, CK17, vimentin and EGFR, but negative for ER/PR and HER-2/neu.

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