Breast adenosquamous carcinomas are rare tumours characterized by well-developed gland formation intimately admixed with solid nests of squamous cells immersed in a highly cellular spindle cell stroma. A low-grade variant has been described that is associated with a better prognosis. Here we studied five cases of adenosquamous carcinomas to determine their genetic profiles and to investigate whether the spindle cell component of these cancers could at least in part stem from the glandular/epithelial components. Five adenosquamous carcinomas of the breast were subjected to (1) immunohistochemical analysis, (2) microdissection and genetic analysis with a high-resolution microarray comparative genomic hybridization platform, and (3) chromogenic in situ hybridization. All cases displayed a triple-negative immunophenotype, consistently expressed basal keratins and showed variable levels of epidermal growth factor receptor expression. Microarray comparative genomic hybridization analysis of two of the cases revealed multiple low-level gains and losses affecting several chromosomal arms. Case 1 displayed gains of the whole of chromosome 7, and case 2 harboured a focal, high-level amplification of 7p12, encompassing the epidermal growth factor receptor gene, which was associated with strong and intense membranous epidermal growth factor receptor expression. Chromogenic in situ hybridization revealed that the genetic features found in the epithelial cells were also present in a minority of the spindle cells of the stromal component, in particular in those near the epithelial clusters, indicating that some of the spindle cells are clonal and derived from the epithelial component of the tumour. In conclusion, breast adenosquamous carcinomas are triple-negative cancers that express basal keratins. These tumours harbour complex genetic profiles. Some of the spindle cells in adenosquamous carcinomas are derived from the epithelial component, suggesting that adenosquamous carcinomas may also be part of the group of metaplastic breast carcinomas with spindle cell metaplastic elements.
- breast cancer
- comparative genomic hybridization
- low-grade adenosquamous carcinoma
- metaplastic carcinoma
- triple negative
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine