JOURNAL ARTICLE

Breast cancer molecular class ERBB2: preponderance of tumors with apocrine differentiation and expression of basal phenotype markers CK5, CK5/6, and EGFR

Rohit Bhargava, Sushil Beriwal, Joan M Striebel, David J Dabbs
Applied Immunohistochemistry & Molecular Morphology: AIMM 2010, 18 (2): 113-8
19801938
This is a study of 205 consecutive invasive breast carcinomas. The principal aim was to identify morphologic and immunohistochemical features of tumors that belong to the molecular class ERBB2. The invasive breast carcinomas were classified using semiquantitative immunohistochemical results for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor, (PR), and HER2 into following classes: Luminal A (strong ER+, HER2 negative), Luminal B (weak to moderate ER/PR+, HER2 negative), Triple Negative (TN; ER/PR negative, HER2 negative), ERBB2 (ER/PR negative, HER2 positive), Luminal A-HER2 Hybrid (strong ER+, HER2 positive), Luminal B-HER2 Hybrid (weak to moderate ER/PR+, HER2 positive). Of the 205 tumors, 113 (55%) were classified as Luminal A, 34 (17%) as Luminal B, 32 (15%) as TN, 8 (4%) as ERBB2, 10 (5%) as Luminal A-HER2 Hybrid, and 8 (4%) as Luminal B-HER2 Hybrid. Majority of the ERBB2 tumors were high grade as expected, with average Nottingham score of 8. Moderate lymphoid infiltrate (constituting 25% to 50% of the tumor) was seen in 5 of 8 (63%) cases and necrosis in 3 of 8 (38%) cases. The most striking morphologic feature associated with ERBB2 tumors was the presence of apocrine differentiation seen in 7 of 8 (88%) cases. CK5 immunoreactivity was seen in 5 of 8 cases (63%). Epidermal growth factor receptor staining with 2+ or 3+ score was also seen in 5 cases (63%). Due to low prevalence of ERBB2 tumors, additional data set of 191 cases enriched in ERBB2 and TN tumors was used for confirmation of morphologic findings. We conclude that tumors with apocrine differentiation are most often of ERBB2 type. ERBB2 tumors demonstrate some features classically ascribed to TN basal-like tumors. Epidermal growth factor receptor overexpression in ERBB2 tumors may have additional predictive value.

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