Invasive micropapillary carcinomas (IMPC) of the breast are aggressive tumors frequently associated with lymphatic invasion and nodal metastasis even when micropapillary (MP) differentiation is very focal within the tumors. We have noticed that some breast carcinomas showing lymphatic spread but lacking histologic features of IMPC have occasional tumor cell clusters reminiscent of those of IMPC without the characteristic prominent retraction artifact. To study the clinicopathologic significance of such features, we prospectively selected 1323 invasive ductal carcinomas and determined the presence and extent of MP differentiation and retraction artifact in the tumors. One representative tumor block per case was used for immunostaining for epithelial membrane antigen (EMA). Partial reverse cell polarity (PRCP) was defined as prominent linear EMA reactivity on at least part of the periphery of tumor cell clusters usually associated with decreased cytoplasmic staining. The clinicopathologic features of carcinomas with PRCP were compared with IMPC and invasive ductal (no special type) carcinomas without this feature. Of the 1323 cases, 96 (7.3%) and 92 (7.0%) showed MP features and the presence of PRCP, respectively. We found that the presence of both PRCP and MP features were strongly associated with decreased cytoplasmic EMA immunoreactivity and the presence of lymphatic invasion and nodal metastasis, even if such features were present only very focally. Our results suggest that breast carcinomas with PRCP may have the same implication as MP differentiation and these tumors may represent part of a spectrum of IMPC. Complete or partial reversal of cell polarity may play a significant role in lymphatic tumor spread.
- breast carcinoma
- invasive micropapillary carcinoma
- lymph node metastasis
- lymphatic invasion
- reversed cell polarity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine