Heterogeneity of luminal breast cancer characterised by immunohistochemical expression of basal markers

Hyuna Sung, Montserrat Garcia-Closas, Jenny Chang-Claude, Fiona M. Blows, H. Raza Ali, Jonine Figueroa, Heli Nevanlinna, Rainer Fagerholm, Paivi Heikkilä, Carl Blomqvist, Graham G. Giles, Roger L. Milne, Melissa C. Southey, Catriona McLean, Arto Mannermaa, Veli Matti Kosma, Vesa Kataja, Reijo Sironen, Fergus J. Couch, Janet E. OlsonEmily Hallberg, Curtis Olswold, Angela Cox, Simon S. Cross, Peter Kraft, Rulla M. Tamimi, A. Heather Eliassen, Marjanka K. Schmidt, Manjeet K. Bolla, Qin Wang, Douglas Easton, William J. Howat, Penny Coulson, Paul D.P. Pharoah, Mark E. Sherman, Xiaohong R. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background:Luminal A breast cancer defined as hormone receptor positive and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) negative is known to be heterogeneous. Previous study showed that luminal A tumours with the expression of basal markers ((cytokeratin (CK) 5 or CK5/6) or epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)) were associated with poorer prognosis compared with those that stained negative for basal markers. Prompted by this study, we assessed whether tumour characteristics and risk factors differed by basal marker status within luminal A tumours.Methods:We pooled 5040 luminal A cases defined by immunohistochemistry (4490 basal-negative ((CK5 (or CK5/6))- and EGFR-) and 550 basal-positive ((CK5 (or CK5/6+)) or EGFR+)) from eight studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Case-case comparison was performed using unconditional logistic regression.Results:Tumour characteristics and risk factors did not vary significantly by the expression of basal markers, although results suggested that basal-positive luminal tumours tended to be smaller and node negative, and were more common in women with a positive family history and lower body mass index.Conclusions:Most established breast cancer risk factors were similar in basal-positive and basal-negative luminal A tumours. The non-significant but suggestive differences in tumour features and family history warrant further investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-304
Number of pages7
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2 2016


  • CK5/6
  • EGFR
  • breast cancer
  • luminal A tumour
  • risk factors
  • tumour characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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