How is breast cancer categorized?

Updated: Dec 27, 2019
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Evidence from The Cancer Genome Atlas Network (TCGA) confirms the following 4 main breast tumor subtypes, with distinct genetic and epigenetic aberrations [4] (see the image below):

  • Luminal A

  • Luminal B

  • Basal-like

  • HER2-positive

    Intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer. Intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer.

It is noteworthy that the basal-like breast tumor subgroup shares a number of molecular characteristics common to serous ovarian tumors, including the types and frequencies of genomic mutations. These data support the evidence that some breast cancers share etiologic factors with ovarian cancer. Most compelling are the data showing that patients with basal-type breast cancers show treatment responsiveness similar to that of ovarian cancer patients. [5]


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