Cartilaginous features in matrix-producing carcinoma of the breast: four cases report with histochemical and immunohistochemical analysis of matrix molecules

Mod Pathol. 2008 Oct;21(10):1282-92. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2008.120. Epub 2008 Jul 11.


Matrix-producing carcinoma of the breast is a well-established entity in the group of metaplastic carcinoma, which is histologically characterized by myxochondroid matrix formation and is extremely rare. We describe here four additional cases of matrix-producing carcinoma of the breast. All cases of matrix-producing carcinoma show nest-like, sheet-like, and cord-like growth of tumor cells with cellular atypia, in addition to scattered cancer cells within myxoid or myxohyalinous stroma. Three of four cases showed an acellular or oligocellular matrix-rich zone in the center of the tumor. Immunohistochemically, cancer cells of all cases were positive for cytokeratins and epithelial membrane antigens and partially positive for sox9 and p63. Aggrecan and type II collagen, which are cartilage-specific matrix molecules, were deposited in the stroma of all cases. Type I and type IV collagens were also deposited on the stroma of all cases. These findings suggest that, although cancer cells of matrix-producing carcinoma of the breast are epithelial, they transdifferentiate to chondrocyte-like cells and produce cartilage-specific matrix molecules, which are useful markers for diagnosing matrix-producing carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Aggrecans / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Collagen Type I / analysis
  • Collagen Type IV / analysis
  • Extracellular Matrix / pathology*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Direct
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged


  • Aggrecans
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Collagen Type I
  • Collagen Type IV