Basal-like and Triple-negative Breast Cancers

A Critical Review With an Emphasis on The Implications for Pathologists and Oncologists

Sunil Badve; David J Dabbs; Stuart J Schnitt; Frederick L Baehner; Thomas Decker; Vincenzo Eusebi; Stephen B Fox; Shu Ichihara; Jocelyne Jacquemier; Sunil R Lakhani; José Palacios; Emad A Rakha; Andrea L Richardson; Fernando C Schmitt; Puay-Hoon Tan; Gary M Tse; Britta Weigelt; Ian O Ellis; Jorge S Reis-Filho


Mod Pathol. 2011;24(2):157-167. 

In This Article

Precursors of Basal-like and Triple-negative Cancers

A group of high-grade DCIS lacking ER, PR and HER2, and expressing 'basal' markers has been identified.[101–107] However, it should be noted that its prevalence is lower than that of invasive triple-negative and basal-like breast cancers and that triple-negative and basal-like cancers often lack an overt in situ component. Whether this is the result of basal-like and triple-negative breast cancers progressing rapidly from DCIS to invasive cancer and/or obliterating the DCIS precursor from which they arose remains a matter of speculation.

The majority of invasive cancers developing in microglandular adenosis is of triple-negative phenotype[108–112] and show metaplastic elements or is of adenoid cystic morphology.[109–112] It has been recently shown that microglandular adenosis may be a nonobligate precursor of triple-negative and basal-like breast cancers.[108,113] A stepwise progression in the number of gross chromosomal changes from microglandular adenosis to invasive carcinoma has been observed.[108] However, given the rarity of microglandular adenosis, it is unlikely to be the precursor lesion for most triple-negative cancers.


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