Molecular analysis of special type breast carcinomas
De Biase, Dario
MED/08 Anatomia patologica | BIO/11 Biologia molecolare
The project was developed into three parts: the analysis of p63 isoform in breast tumours; the study of intra-tumour eterogeneicity in metaplastic breast carcinoma; the analysis of oncocytic breast carcinoma.
p63 is a sequence-specific DNA-binding factor, homologue of the tumour suppressor and transcription factor p53. The human p63 gene is composed of 15 exons and transcription can occur from two distinct promoters: the transactivating isoforms (TAp63) are generated by a promoter upstream of exon 1, while the alternative promoter located in intron 3 leads to the expression of N-terminal truncated isoforms (ΔNp63). It has been demonstrated that anti-p63 antibodies decorate the majority of squamous cell carcinomas of different organs; moreover tumours with myoepithelial differentiation of the breast show nuclear p63 expression. Two new isoforms have been described with the same sequence as TAp63 and ΔNp63 but lacking exon 4: d4TAp63 and ΔNp73L, respectively. Purpose of the study was to investigate the molecular expression of N-terminal p63 isoforms in benign and malignant breast tissues. In the present study 40 specimens from normal breast, benign lesions, DIN/DCIS, and invasive carcinomas were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase-PCR) in order to disclose the patterns of p63 expression. We have observed that the full-length isoforms can be detected in non neoplastic and neoplastic lesions, while the short isoforms are only present in the neoplastic cells of invasive carcinomas.
Metaplastic carcinomas of the breast are a heterogeneous group of neoplasms which exhibit varied patterns of metaplasia and differentiation. The existence of such non-modal populations harbouring distinct genetic aberrations may explain the phenotypic diversity observed within a given tumour. Intra-tumour morphological heterogeneity is not uncommon in breast cancer and it can often be appreciated in metaplastic breast carcinomas. Aim of this study was to determine the existence of intra-tumour genetic heterogeneity in metaplastic breast cancers and whether areas with distinct morphological features in a given tumour might be underpinned by distinct patterns of genetic aberrations. 47 cases of metaplastic breast carcinomas were retrieved. Out of the 47 cases, 9 had areas that were of sufficient dimensions to be independently microdissected. Our results indicate that at least some breast cancers are composed of multiple non-modal populations of clonally related cells and provide direct evidence that at least some types of metaplastic breast cancers are composed of multiple non-modal clones harbouring distinct genetic aberrations.
Oncocytic tumours represent a distinctive set of lesions with typical granular cytoplasmatic eosinophilia of the neoplastic cells. Only rare example of breast oncocytic carcinomas have been reported in literature and the incidence is probably underestimated. In this study we have analysed 33 cases of oncocytic invasive breast carcinoma of the breast, selected according to morphological and immunohistochemical criteria. These tumours were morphologically classified and studied by immunohistochemistry and aCGH. We have concluded that oncocytic breast carcinoma is a morphologic entity with distinctive ultrastructural and histological features; immunohistochemically is characterized by a luminal profile, it has a frequency of 19.8%, has not distinctive clinical features and, at molecular level, shows a specific constellation of genetic aberration.