Immunoreactivity for c-kit and p63 as an adjunct in the diagnosis of adenoid cystic carcinoma of the breast

Mauro G. Mastropasqua, Eugenio Maiorano, Giancarlo Pruneri, Enrico Orvieto, Giovanni Mazzarol, Anna R. Vento, Giuseppe Viale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adenoid cystic carcinoma of the breast represents a unique clinicopathologic entity with a variable histological appearance and a relatively indolent clinical course in most of the cases. Adenoid cystic carcinoma may be difficult to differentiate from infiltrating duct carcinomas, and in particular from tubular and cribriform carcinomas, especially in core or vacuum-assisted biopsies. We evaluated the prevalence of c-kit, p63, and e-cadherin immunoreactivity in a series of 20 adenoid cystic carcinomas, comparing the results with those obtained in a series of infiltrating tubular carcinomas and infiltrating cribriform carcinomas. The hormone receptor status, proliferation labeling index, and HER/2 immunoreactivity had been previously investigated in all the cases. Three (15%) adenoid cystic carcinomas and all infiltrating tubular and cribriform carcinomas showed estrogen receptor and/or progesterone receptor immunoreactivity (P-/progesterone receptor -/c-kit+/p63+ (13 cases, 65%), estrogen receptor-/progesterone receptor/c-kit+/p63- (three cases, 15%), estrogen receptor-/progesterone receptor -/c-kit-/p63+ (one case, 5%), estrogen receptor+/progesterone receptor+/c-kit+/ p63+ (two cases, 10%), and estrogen receptor+/progesterone receptor-/c-kit+/p63+ (one case). By contrast, all the infiltrating tubular and cribriform carcinomas showed the estrogen receptor+/progesterone receptor+/c-kit-/ p63- phenotype. Our data provide evidence that immunoreactivity for c-kit and/or p63 may be useful in differentiating adenoid cystic carcinomas from other types of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1277-1282
Number of pages6
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Breast
  • c-kit
  • p63

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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