Update on immunohistochemical analysis in breast lesions

Yan Peng, Yasmeen M. Butt, Beiyun Chen, Xinmin Zhang, Ping Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Context.-The utility of immunohistochemistry (IHC) in breast lesions needs to be updated with exceptions among these lesions. Biomarker studies with IHC in triple-negative breast carcinoma may help develop targeted therapies for this aggressive breast cancer. The distinction of metastatic lung adenocarcinoma to the breast and invasive breast carcinoma has significant prognostic and therapeutic implications. The determination can be challenging because both primary tumors can express estrogen receptor and/or HER2 by IHC, creating a diagnostic dilemma. Objectives.-To provide a practical update on the use of IHC markers in differential diagnoses in breast lesions, including benign, atypical, precancerous, and malignant tumors; to highlight recently published research findings on novel IHC markers in triple-negative breast carcinoma cases; and to reinforce the importance of IHC use as an ancillary tool in distinguishing metastatic lung adenocarcinoma to the breast from primary breast carcinoma using real case examples. Data Sources.-PubMed (US National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland) literature review and authors' research data and personal experiences were used in this review. Conclusions.-Immunohistochemistry has an important role in making differential diagnoses in breast lesions in morphologically equivocal settings; recognizing IHC expression status in the exceptions among these lesions will aid in the correct diagnosis of challenging breast cases. Studies suggest that androgen receptor, p16, p53, GATA3, and PELP1 may have potential diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive value in triple-negative breast carcinoma cases; these findings may provide insight and a greater understanding of the tumor biology in triple-negative breast carcinomas. In distinguishing metastatic estrogen receptor- positive or HER2 lung adenocarcinoma to the breast from primary breast carcinoma, napsin A, TTF-1, and GATA3 comprise a useful IHC panel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1033-1051
Number of pages19
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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