The molecular classification for breast carcinomas has been used in clinical studies with a simple surrogate panel of immunohistochemistry (IHC) markers. The objective of this current project was to study the molecular classification of commonly used breast cancer cell lines by IHC analysis. Seventeen breast cancer cell lines were harvested, fixed in formalin and made into cell blocks. IHC analyses were performed on each cell block with antibodies to estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), HER2, EGFR, CK5/6, Ki-67 and androgen receptor (AR). Among the 17 cell lines, MCF-7 and ZR-75-1 fell to Luminal A subtype; BT-474 to Luminal B subtype; SKBR-3, MDA-MD-435 and AU 565 to HER2 over-expression subtype; MDA-MB-231, MCF-12A, HBL 101, HS 598 T, MCF-10A, MCF-10F, BT-20, 468 and BT-483 to basal subtype. MDA-MB-453 belonged to Unclassified subtype. Since each subtype defined by this IHC-based molecular classification does show a distinct clinical outcome, attention should be paid when choosing a cell line for any study.
Keywords: breast cancer; cell lines; immunohistochemistry; molecular classification.