Morphological and pathological features of basal-like breast cancer

Gerardo Botti, Monica Cantile, Francesca Collina, Margherita Cerrone, Sabrina Sarno, Annamaria Anniciello, Maurizio Di Bonito


Basal-like breast cancer (BLBC) is characterized by high grade, high mitotic indices, presence of central necrotic or fibrotic zones, and lymphocytic infiltrate. Patients presenting with BLBC have a poor prognosis and a short-term disease-free and overall survival. BLBCs may include different histological types of breast cancers but the most common histological type is represented by invasive ductal carcinomas of no special type (IDC-NST). Typical immunohistochemical markers for these tumors are basal-type cytokeratin markers such as CK5/6, CK14, CK17, but several BLBCs also express luminal-type CKs, such as CK8/18, CK19. Different molecular alterations, including BRCA1 dysfunction, p53 mutations, up-regulation of EGFR, inactivation of PTEN and the aberrant expression of many non-coding RNAs molecules are detected in BLBC cells suggesting the possibility of defining new targeted therapeutic strategies for this tumor type.