The 3-layered Ductal Epithelium in Gynecomastia
Department of Pathology, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.The American journal of surgical pathology (Impact Factor: 5.15). 02/2012; 36(5):762-8. DOI: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e31824324e6
Gynecomastia is the most common abnormality in the male breast and has been associated with male breast cancer, but whether there is an etiological role remains unknown. In the present study we conducted an immunohistochemical investigation to further characterize gynecomastia. A total of 46 cases of gynecomastia were immunohistochemically stained on tissue microarrays for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor, HER2, androgen receptor, cytokeratins (CK5, CK14, CK7, and CK8/18), p63, E-cadherin, BRST2, cyclin D1, Bcl-2, p53, p16, p21, and Ki67. In addition, 8 cases of male ductal carcinoma in situ and normal breast tissue obtained from autopsies (n=10) and adjacent to male breast cancer (n=5) were studied. Normal ductal male breast epithelial cells were very often ER and Bcl-2 positive (>69%), and progesterone receptor and androgen receptor expression was also common (>39%). Gynecomastia showed a consistent 3-layered pattern: 1 myoepithelial and 2 epithelial cell layers with a distinctive immunohistochemical staining pattern. The intermediate luminal layer, consisting of vertically oriented cuboidal-to-columnar cells, is hormone receptor positive and expresses Bcl-2 and cyclin D1. The inner luminal layer is composed of smaller cells expressing CK5 and often CK14 but is usually negative for hormone receptors and Bcl-2. Male ductal carcinoma in situ was consistently ER positive and CK5/CK14 negative. In conclusion, for the first time we describe the 3-layered ductal epithelium in gynecomastia, which has a distinctive immunohistochemical profile. These results indicate that different cellular compartments exist in gynecomastia, and therefore gynecomastia does not seem to be an obligate precursor lesion of male breast cancer.
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ABSTRACT: Male breast cancer accounts for 0.5-1% of all breast cancers and is generally diagnosed at higher stage than female breast cancers and therefore might benefit from earlier detection and targeted therapy. Except for HER2 and EGFR, little is known about expression of growth factor receptors in male breast cancer. We therefore investigated expression profiles of growth factor receptors and membrane-bound tumor markers in male breast cancer and gynecomastia, in comparison with female breast cancer. Tissue microarrays containing 133 male breast cancer and 32 gynecomastia cases were stained by immunohistochemistry for a panel of membrane-bound targets and compared with data on 266 female breast cancers. Growth factor receptors were variably expressed in 4.5% (MET) up to 38.5% (IGF1-R) of male breast cancers. Compared to female breast cancer, IGF1-R and carbonic anhydrase 12 (CAXII) were more frequently and CD44v6, MET and FGFR2 less frequently expressed in male breast cancer. Expression of EGFR, HER2, CAIX, and GLUT1 was not significantly different between male and female breast cancer. Further, 48.1% of male breast cancers expressed at least one and 18.0% expressed multiple growth factor receptors. Since individual membrane receptors are expressed in only half of male breast cancers, a panel of membrane markers will be required for molecular imaging strategies to reach sensitivity. A potential panel of markers for molecular imaging, consisting of EGFR, IGF1-R, FGFR2, CD44v6, CAXII, GLUT1, and CD44v6 was positive in 77% of male breast cancers, comparable to female breast cancers. Expression patterns of growth factor receptors and hypoxia membrane proteins in male breast cancer are different from female breast cancer. For molecular imaging strategies, a putative panel consisting of markers for EGFR, IGF1-R, FGFR2, GLUT1, CAXII, CD44v6 was positive in 77% of cases and might be considered for development of molecular tracers for male breast cancer.
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