FOXC1 identifies basal-like breast cancer in a hereditary breast cancer cohort

Jeff Johnson, Michael Choi, Farnaz Dadmanesh, Bingchen Han, Ying Qu, Yi Yu-Rice, Xiao Zhang, Sanjay Bagaria, Clive Taylor, Armando E. Giuliano, Farin Amersi, Xiaojiang Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Breast cancers arising in the setting of the hereditary breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 are most commonly classified as basal-like breast cancer (BLBC) or luminal breast cancer, respectively. BLBC is an aggressive subtype of breast cancer associated with liver and lung metastases and poorer prognosis than other subtypes and for which chemotherapy is the only systemic therapy. Multiple immunohistochemical markers are used to identify the basal-like subtype, including the absence of estrogen receptor alpha, progesterone receptor, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. Forkhead box C1 (FOXC1) has been identified as a specific marker expressed in BLBC in general breast cancer cohorts. We examined an institutional cohort of breast cancer patients with germline BRCA1 (n=46) and BRCA2 (n=35) mutations and found that FOXC1 expression on immunohistochemical staining is associated with BRCA1 vs BRCA2 mutations [30/46 vs. 6/35]. In BRCA1 mutant tumors, FOXC1 was expressed in 28/31 BLBC tumors and 2/13 non-BLBC tumors, In BRCA2 mutant tumors, FOXC1 was expressed in 5/5 BLBC tumors and 1/30 non-BLBC tumors. In cell culture models of BRCA1-mutant breast cancer, FOXC1 is associated with increased proliferation and may serve as a marker for sensitivity to PARP-inhibitor therapy with olaparib.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75729-75738
Number of pages10
Issue number46
StatePublished - 2016


  • BRCA
  • Basal-like breast cancer
  • FOXC1
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • PARP inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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