Spindle cell carcinoma of breast with neuroendocrine differentiation

Department of Pathology, General Hospital of Beijing Military Command, Beijing 100700, China.
Zhonghua bing li xue za zhi Chinese journal of pathology 01/2006; 35(1):13-7.
Source: PubMed


To describe the morphologic features and immunohistochemistry of spindle cell carcinoma of breast with neuroendocrine differentiation.
Retrospective review of 2500 cases of breast carcinoma showed 5 cases (0.2%) with a predominance (> 80%) of spindle cell component. Amongst the 5 cases studied, 2 represented intraductal spindle cell carcinoma and 3 represented invasive spindle cell carcinoma. The paraffin sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin, alcian blue, periodic acid-Schiff and reticulin stain. Immunohistochemical studies for AE1/AE3, CEA, EMA, CK7, 34betaE12, NSE, synaptophysin, chromogranin A, Leu-7, vimentin, S-100, SMA, calponin, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, c-erbB2, E-cadherin, Ki-67 and p53 were also carried out. Follow-up information was available in 4 of the 5 cases.
The mean age of the patients was 68 years. Histologically, all tumors were predominantly composed of elongated spindle cells. Three of these cases also contained tumor cells with vacuolated cytoplasm, alcian blue-positive tumor cells were observed in 4 cases. Immunohistochemically, the spindle tumor cells in all cases expressed AE1/AE3, CEA, EMA, E-cadherin and synaptophysin. CK7 was positive in 4 cases, NSE in 3 cases, chromogranin A and Leu-7 in 2 cases. Estrogen receptor was expressed in 4 cases and progesterone receptor in 2 cases. Overexpression of c-erbB2 oncoprotein was detected in only 1 case. Vimentin was focally positive in 1 case. Two cases of intraductal spindle cell carcinoma and 1 of the 3 cases of invasive spindle cell carcinoma were classified as neuroendocrine carcinoma of spindle cell type, while the remaining 2 cases of invasive spindle cell carcinoma were considered as metaplastic carcinoma with neuroendocrine differentiation. Amongst the 4 patients with follow-up information available, 3 were still alive 24 to 58 months after the initial diagnosis. One patient died within 27 months of diagnosis.
The presence of spindle tumor cells and sometimes intracytoplasmic mucin are useful morphologic clues in diagnosing spindle cell carcinoma of the breast with neuroendocrine differentiation. Intraductal neuroendocrine spindle cell carcinoma needs to be distinguished from usual ductal hyperplasia and intraductal papilloma. On the other hand, invasive spindle cell carcinoma with neuroendocrine differentiation needs to be distinguished from spindle cell myoepithelioma, malignant melanoma and sometimes soft tissue neoplasm.

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    ABSTRACT: Mucins are high molecular weight, multifunctional glycoproteins comprised of two structural classes-the large transmembrane mucins and the gel-forming or secreted mucins. The primary function of mucins is to protect and lubricate the luminal surfaces of epithelium-lined ducts in the human body. Recent studies have identified a differential expression of both membrane bound (MUC1, MUC4 and MUC16) and secreted mucins (MUC2, MUC5AC, MUC5B and MUC6) in breast cancer tissues when compared with the non-neoplastic breast tissues. Functional studies have also uncovered many unique roles of mucins during the progression of breast cancer, which include modulation in proliferative, invasive and metastatic potential of tumor cells. Mucins function through many unique domains that can form complex association with various signaling molecules including growth factor receptors and intercellular adhesion molecules. While there is growing information about mucins in various malignancies including breast cancer, no focused review is there on the expression and functional roles of mucins in breast cancer. In this present review, we have discussed the differential expression and functional roles of mucins in breast cancer. The potential of mucins as diagnostic and prognostic markers and as therapeutic targets in breast cancer have also been discussed.
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