, Volume 99, Issue 1, pp 85-90
Date: 16 Mar 2006

Caveolin-1 expression is associated with a basal-like phenotype in sporadic and hereditary breast cancer

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Summary

The role of caveolin 1 (CAV1), a structural component of caveolae in breast cancer is controversial, although most studies suggest that it functions as a tumor-suppressor gene. In addition, some studies have identified CAV1 as a marker of myoepithelial cells. Since myoepithelial markers are frequently expressed in breast carcinomas with a basal-like phenotype, which are frequently occurring tumors in women with BRCA1 germline mutations, we evaluated whether CAV1 was associated with a basal-like phenotype in 509 sporadic and 47 hereditary BRCA1-/BRCA2-associated carcinomas. Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue microarrays and cases were classified as having a basal-like-phenotype if they were estrogen-receptor- and HER2-negative but cytokeratin 5/6- and/or epidermal growth factor receptor-positive. In sporadic carcinomas, CAV1 expression was found in 21 out of 496 valuable cases (4.2%). A basal-like-phenotype was found in 53 out of 498 (10.6%) cases. A strong association was found between CAV1 expression and a basal-like-phenotype, since 52% of tumors that expressed CAV1 had this phenotype, compared with only 9% of CAV1-negative carcinomas (p<0.001). CAV1 was expressed in six (12.8%) familial cases, five of which had a basal-like-phenotype (p = 0.009). Moreover, these six CAV1-positive cases were BRCA1 tumors. The difference in the frequency of CAV1 expression between BRCA1- and BRCA2-associated tumors was statistically significant (p = 0.024). In conclusion, this study reports for the first time CAV1 expression in BRCA1 and BRCA2 hereditary breast cancer and identifies CAV1 as a marker associated with a basal-like-phenotype in both hereditary and sporadic breast cancer.