Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 99, Issue 1, pp 85–90 | Cite as

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

  • Socorro María Rodríguez Pinilla
  • Emiliano Honrado
  • David Hardisson
  • Javier Benítez
  • José Palacios
Clinical trial


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.


basal-like phenotype breast cancer caveolin tissue-microarray 


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The authors thank the CNIO Immunohistochemical Unit for expert technical assistance.

This study was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science (SAF2004-08258-C02-01) and Instituto de Salud Carlos III (PI051890). Socorro María Rodríguez-Pinilla is recipient of a research grant from the Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria, Spain, and Emiliano Honrado is funded by the Foundation of the Spanish Association against cancer (AECC).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Socorro María Rodríguez Pinilla
    • 1
  • Emiliano Honrado
    • 2
  • David Hardisson
    • 3
  • Javier Benítez
    • 2
  • José Palacios
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Breast and Gynaecological Cancer Group, Molecular Pathology ProgrammeCentro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO)MadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Human GeneticsCentro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO)MadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of PathologyLa Paz HospitalMadridSpain
  4. 4.Breast and Gynaecological Cancer Group, Molecular Pathology ProgrammeCentro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO)MadridSpain

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