Collagen, type XI, alpha 1: an accurate marker for differential diagnosis of breast carcinoma invasiveness in core needle biopsies

Pathol Res Pract. 2014 Dec;210(12):879-84. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2014.07.012. Epub 2014 Aug 8.


Accurate diagnosis of invasive breast lesions, when analyzed by Core Needle Biopsy, may suppose a major challenge for the pathologist. Various markers of invasiveness such as laminin, S-100 protein, P63 or calponin have been described; however, none of them is completely reliable. The use of a specific marker of the infiltrating tumor microenvironment seems vital to support the diagnosis of invasive against in situ lesions. At this point, Collagen, type XI, alpha 1 (COL11A1), might be helpful since it has been described to be associated to cancer associated fibroblasts in other tumors such as lung, pancreas or colorectal. This paper aims to analyze the role of COL11A1 as a marker of invasiveness in breast tumor lesions. Two hundred and one breast Core Needle Biopsy samples were analyzed by immunohistochemistry against pro-COL11A1. The results show a significant difference (p < 0.0001) when comparing the expression in infiltrative tumors (93%) versus immunostaining of non-invasive lesions (4%). Forty cases of underestimated DCIS were also stained for COL11A1, presenting a sensitivity of 90% when compared with p63 and calponin which not tagged invasion. In conclusion, pro-COL11A1 expression is a promising marker of invasive breast lesions, and may be included in immunohistochemical panels aiming at identifying infiltration in problematic breast lesions.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Collagen, Type XI, Alpha 1; Core needle biopsy; Infiltrating tumor differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / chemistry*
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Biopsy, Large-Core Needle*
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma / chemistry*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / pathology
  • Collagen Type XI / analysis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • COL11A1 protein, human
  • Collagen Type XI