Immunohistochemical Profile and Morphology in Triple – Negative Breast Cancers
Dr Chandrika Rao,
Department of Pathology, KS Hegde Medical Academy,
Deralakatte, Mangalore â€“ 575018, Karnataka, India.
Background and Purpose: Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is defined by a lack of expression of the steroid hormone receptors (oestrogen and progesterone), and the human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER-2). It is characterized by distinct molecular, histological and clinical features. It is a high risk breast cancer that lacks the benefit of a specific therapy. Our study was aimed at pathologically illustrating triple-negative breast carcinoma and at evaluating the expression of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) ,cytokeratin 5/6 (CK 5/6) and Ki-67 among triple-negative breast cancer cases. Further, we aimed to probe whether tripleâ€“negative phenotype could be a surrogate marker for the basal phenotype and to correlate the expression of the basal markers (CK 5/6 and EGFR) with the clinico-pathological prognostic parameters.
Methods: The expression of EGFR, CK 5/6 and Ki-67 were studied by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 50 triple-negative breast cancer cases.
Statistical Analysis: A statistical analysis was implemented by using the SPSS version 20.0. The Chi-square test was conducted to assess the relationship between the immunohistochemical markers and other variables. The Fischer exact test was used when the expected cell counts were less than 5.
Results: The women with triple-negative breast cancer were younger, with the adverse pathological characteristics of a high tumour grade, tumour necrosis, frequent nodal metastases and high proliferation. 37 (74%) of the 50 triple-negative breast carcinomas showed the expression of the basal markers (EGFR and /or CK 5/6). We observed a statistically significant association between the basal marker expression and the presence of tumour necrosis.
Conclusion: The triple-negative breast cancers in our population harbour adverse pathobiological features and a five marker immunohistochemical panel can be reliably used to define the basal-like cancers. The â€śTriple-negativeâ€ť status cannot be used as a surrogate for the â€śbasal marker expressionâ€ť.