Document Type: Review Article

Author

Unit of Breast and Gynecologic Pathology, Department of Pathology, Medical University of Graz, Austria

Abstract

This review deals with studies that have used cDNA microarrays and immunohistochemistry to identify a subtype of breast carcinoma recently known as “basal-like” carcinoma. The key breast carcinoma studies are critically discussed to highlight methodological problems in cohort selection, definitions, interpretation of results, and statistical analysis. It concludes that “basal-like” carcinomas do not reflect a single, biologically uniform group of breast cancers and show significant variations in their phenotypes, grades, immunoprofiles, and clinical behavior, just as a wide range of subtypes and behaviors is observed among epithelial/luminal-derived breast carcinomas. Welldesigned studies with comparison of low grade non-basal versus low grade basal and high grade non-basal versus high grade basal carcinomas are necessary before one can be convinced that this subtype represents a distinct clinicopathologic entity.
 

Keywords