How to best classify breast cancer: conventional and novel classifications (review)

Int J Oncol. 2005 Nov;27(5):1307-13.


Breast cancer is a complex disease and different classifications, mostly based on clinical and pathological features, have been used for guiding the management of patients. Most of them fail to reflect breast cancer heterogeneity, which could be the reason why the treatment fails in approximately 30% of cases. Emerging molecular studies based on gene expression profiling using DNA microarrays have defined new molecular subtypes of breast cancer associated with the cell-of-origin distinction. Thus, breast cancer has been divided into five subgroups with distinct biological features and clinical outcomes. We have tried here to confront the conventional existing classifications with this new molecular taxonomy. It is likely that using all types of classification together will help in the management of breast cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / classification*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods*
  • Prognosis
  • Terminology as Topic