Molecular subtyping of male breast cancer by immunohistochemistry

Robert Kornegoor, Anoek H J Verschuur-Maes, Horst Buerger, Marieke C H Hogenes, Peter C de Bruin, Joost J Oudejans, Petra van der Groep, Bernd Hinrichs, Paul J van Diest
Modern Pathology 2012, 25 (3): 398-404
Molecular subtyping of breast cancer by gene expression has proven its significance in females. Immunohistochemical surrogates have been used for this classification, because gene expression profiling is not yet routinely feasible. Male breast cancer is rare and large series are lacking. In this study, we used immunohistochemistry for molecular subtyping of male breast cancer. A total of 134 cases of male breast cancer were immunohistochemically stained on tissue microarrays for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), HER2 and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), as well as for CK5/6, CK14, and Ki67. HER2 was also assessed by chromogen in situ hybridization. Cases were classified as luminal A (ER+ and/or PR+, and HER2- and Ki67 low), luminal B (ER+ and/or PR+, and HER2+ or Ki67 high), HER2 driven (ER-, PR-, HER2+), basal-like (ER-, PR-, HER2-, CK5/6+ and/or CK14+ and/or EGFR+), or unclassifiable triple-negative (negative for all six markers). Luminal type A was by far the most encountered type of male breast cancers, representing 75% of the cases. Luminal type B was seen in 21% and the remaining 4% of cases were classified as basal-like (n=4) and unclassifiable triple-negative (n=1). No HER2 driven cases were identified. Patients with basal-like cancer were significantly younger (P=0.034). Luminal B type cancers showed significantly higher histological grade (P<0.001), mitotic index (P<0.001), and PR negativity (P=0.005) compared with luminal type A cancers. In conclusion, most male breast cancers are luminal A and luminal B types, whereas basal-like, unclassifiable triple-negative, and HER2 driven male breast cancers are rare. Luminal type B seem to represent a subtype with an aggressive phenotype. This distribution of molecular subtypes in male breast cancer is clearly different compared with female breast cancers, pointing to possible important differences in carcinogenesis.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"