p53 status identifies two subgroups of triple-negative breast cancers with distinct biological features

Elia Biganzoli, Danila Coradini, Federico Ambrogi, Jonhatan M. Garibaldi, Paulo Lisboa, Daniele Soria, Andrew R. Green, Massimo Pedriali, Mauro Piantelli, Patrizia Querzoli, Romano Demicheli, Patrizia Boracchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Despite the clinical similarities triple-negative and basal-like breast cancer are not synonymous. Indeed, not all basal-like cancers are negative for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER2 expression while triple-negative also encompasses other cancer types. P53 protein appears heterogeneously expressed in triple-negative breast cancers, suggesting that it may be associated with specific biological subgroups with a different outcome. Methods: We comparatively analyzed p53 expression in triple-negative tumors from two independent breast cancer case series (633 cases from the University of Ferrara and 1076 cases from the University of Nottingham). Results: In both case series, p53 protein expression was able to subdivide the triple-negative cases into two distinct subsets consistent with a different outcome. In fact, triple-negative patients with a p53 expressing tumor showed worse overall and event-free survival. Conclusions: The immunohistochemical evaluation of p53 expression may help in taming the currently stormy relationship between pathological (triple-negative tumors) and biological (basal breast cancers) classifications and in selecting patient subgroups with different biological features providing a potentially powerful prognostic contribution in triple-negative breast cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-179
Number of pages8
JournalJapanese Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Biological marker
  • Breast cancer
  • Prognosis
  • Triple-negative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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