Estrogen and progesterone receptors are possible markers for suggesting a mammary origin of metastatic carcinoma, but are useless in cases of triple negative breast cancers (TNBC). Five other potential markers of breast origin were investigated on tissue microarrays in a series of TNBCs showing keratin 5 expression, consistent with a basal-like phenotype. GATA-3 staining was observed in 82 of 115 triple negative cases (71.3%) including 23 cases with >5% staining. Mammaglobin staining was detected in 30 cases (26.0%) including 12 with >5% staining. GCDFP-15 was seen in 23 cases (20.0%) including 9 with >5% staining. NY-BR-1 positivity was present in 7 cases (6.0%) including 3 patients with >5% staining. BCA-225 staining was observed in 74 cases (64.3%); however this latter marker lacks also specificity owing to the reported widespread staining in other malignancies. GATA-3, mammaglobin and GCDFP-15 coexpression was seen in one case (0.9%), whereas GATA-3 and mammaglobin or mammaglobin and GCDFP-15 coexpression was present in 2 and 2 cases (1.7%), respectively. Using at least 5% staining as cut-off, the expression of any of the last 4 markers was 34.7%. The expression of GATA-3, mammaglobin, GCDFP-15 and NY-BR-1 is lower in TNBC-s than in breast carcinomas in general, and this may be even lower in basal-like carcinomas. Although these markers are not fully specific, by using them, a subset of basal-like TNBC-s can be identified as of mammary origin. However, a substantial proportion will not show any staining with any of these markers.
- Triple negative breast cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cancer Research