Large, central acellular zones indicating myoepithelial tumor differentiation in high-grade invasive ductal carcinomas as markers of predisposition to lung and brain metastases

Am J Surg Pathol. 2000 Feb;24(2):197-202. doi: 10.1097/00000478-200002000-00005.


High-grade invasive ductal carcinomas (IDCs) of the breast with large, central acellular zones on their cut surfaces are usually associated with the myoepithelial immunophenotype of carcinoma cells, which includes the expression of S-100 protein, alpha-smooth muscle actin, and keratin 14. To clarify the clinical significance of these features of IDCs, the authors compared the incidence of the myoepithelial immunophenotype immunohistochemically, patient prognosis, and metastatic sites of the tumor between 20 high-grade IDCs with large, central acellular zones and 40 control high-grade IDCs without these zones. The myoepithelial immunophenotype was detected in 16 IDCs (80%) with large, central acellular zones but in only seven IDCs (18%) without. The risk ratio of metastasis, especially in the brain and lung, and death from cancer were significantly higher (p = 0.0096 and p = 0.030) for the 20 IDCs with large, central acellular zones than for those without by Cox's univariate analysis. Using Cox's multivariate analysis, large, central acellular zones in IDCs were an indicator of high risk of brain and lung metastases and of death by cancer independent of nodal status and tumor size. Examination of large, central acellular zones and myoepithelial immunophenotype in high-grade IDCs appears helpful in predicting patient prognosis and preferential metastatic sites of the tumors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / secondary*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Middle Aged
  • Myoepithelioma / metabolism
  • Myoepithelioma / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • S100 Proteins / metabolism
  • Survival Rate


  • Actins
  • S100 Proteins
  • Keratins