Comedo-DCIS is a precursor lesion for basal-like breast carcinoma: identification of a novel p63/Her2/neu expressing subgroup

Malathy P V Shekhar, Ikuko Kato, Pratima Nangia-Makker, Larry Tait
Oncotarget 2013, 4 (2): 231-41
Basal breast cancer comprises ~15% of invasive ductal breast cancers, and presents as high-grade lesions with aggressive clinical behavior. Basal breast carcinomas express p63 and cytokeratin 5 (CK5) antigens characteristic of the myoepithelial lineage, and typically lack Her2/neu and hormone receptor expression. However, there is limited data about the precursor lesions from which they emerge. Here we wished to determine whether comedo-ductal carcinoma in situ (comedo- DCIS), a high-risk in situ breast lesion, serve as precursors for basal-like breast cancer. To determine this link, p63, CK5, Her2/neu, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PgR) expression were analyzed by immunohistochemistry in 17 clinical comedo- and 12 noncomedo-DCIS cases, and in tumors derived from unfractionated and CK5-overexpressing subpopulation ( of cells, a model representative of clinical comedo-DCIS. p63 and Her2/neu coexpression was analyzed by immunofluorescence double labeling. A novel p63/CK5/Her2/neu expressing subpopulation of cells that are ER-/PgR-/EGFR- were identified in the myoepithelial and luminal areas of clinical comedo-DCIS and tumors derived from unfractionated and cells. These data suggest that p63 and Her2/neu expressors may share a common precursor intermediate. P63, but not Her2/neu, expression was significantly associated (P = 0.038) with microinvasion/recurrence of clinical comedo-DCIS, and simultaneous expression of p63 and Her2/neu was marginally associated (P = 0.067) with comedo-DCIS. These data suggest that p63/Her2/neu expressing precursor intermediate in comedo-DCIS may provide a cellular basis for emergence of p63+/Her2/neu- or p63+/Her2/neu+ basal-like breast cancer, and that p63/Her2/neu coexpression may serve as biomarkers for identification of this subgroup of basal-like breast cancers.

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