Differentiation pathways in primary invasive breast carcinoma as suggested by intermediate filament and biopathological marker expression

J Pathol. 1996 Aug;179(4):386-91. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9896(199608)179:4<386::AID-PATH631>3.0.CO;2-V.


The expression of intermediate filament proteins (IFPs) in 65 primary breast carcinomas was analysed by a panel of specific antibodies. Results were integrated with the oestrogen and progesterone receptor (ER and PGR) status, Ki-67 marking, and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr) expression. Invasive breast carcinomas could be divided into three main groups: group 1 revealed positivity only for 'simple epithelial' cytokeratins (CKs 7, 8, 18, and 19); group 2 also stained with the antibodies K8.12 and 34 beta E12; while group 3 showed co-expression of CKs 14 and 17, vimentin, and alpha-smooth muscle actin. Group 3 consistently comprised tumours with the highest Ki-67 levels, EGFr positivity, and ER-PGR negative status. On the other hand, groups 1 and 2 usually exhibited a positive hormonal status, lower proliferative activity, and EGFr negativity. The results of this study indicate that the determination of IFPs can significantly contribute to the identification of groups of patients with different biopathological settings and possibly different clinical behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / chemistry*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / analysis*
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Receptors, Progesterone / analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • ErbB Receptors