Adenoid cystic carcinoma of the breast is a rare subtype of breast cancer with basal-like features. Published studies on breast adenoid cystic carcinoma are limited, resulting in relatively scarce information on the value of predictive tumor markers. We studied 20 primary cases of adenoid cystic carcinoma of the breast for expression of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, androgen receptor, epidermal growth factor receptor, HER-2/neu, and topoisomerase IIα using immunohistochemistry and fluorescent in situ hybridization methods. Estrogen and progesterone receptor expression were detected in 1 case each. All tumors were uniformly negative for Her-2/neu expression. Androgen receptor and topoisomerase IIα expression were weakly positive in three cases and 7 cases, respectively. Epidermal growth factor receptor overexpression was detected in 13 cases (65% of all cases). Amplification of TOP2A or HER-2/neu gene was not detected in any of the cases. Our study shows that the majority of adenoid cystic carcinomas of the breast do not overexpress Her-2/neu, topoisomerase IIα, or estrogen receptor, and thus, they are unlikely to respond to therapies targeting these proteins. However, these tumors frequently over-express epidermal growth factor receptor, indicating a potential benefit from anti-epidermal growth factor receptor therapy for patients with advanced adenoid cystic carcinomas of the breast.
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