The distribution of the myoepithelial cells in 32 cases of ductal carcinoma-in-situ (DCIS) of the breast (11 not associated, 21 associated with invasive carcinoma) was investigated with a recently developed immunoperoxidase method for actin.
Actin-rich myoepithelial cells were detected at the periphery of some ducts, however, their presence was neither constant nor continuous. Large areas of DCIS were devoid of a myoepithelial cell layer and the neoplastic cells were directly in contact with the stroma. No differences related to the histological pattern of DCIS or the presence and absence of invasive carcinoma were noted.
The behaviour of the myoepithelial cells in ductal carcinoma appears different from that observed in cases of lobular carcinoma (Bussolati 1980) and of cystic disease, and may thus be of diagnostic interest.
The selective destruction of myoepithelial cells in cases of DCIS might result in a focal disruption of the basement membrane, thus facilitating invasion.
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