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Best practices in diagnostic immunohistochemistry: myoepithelial markers in breast pathology.

By Dewar R, Fadare O, Gilmore H, Gown AM.
Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2011 Apr;135(4):422-9.

Numerous immunohistochemical stains have been shown to exhibit exclusive or preferential positivity in breast myoepithelial cells relative to their luminal/epithelial counterparts. These myoepithelial markers provide invaluable assistance in accurately classifying breast proliferations, especially in core biopsies. Although numerous myoepithelial markers are available, they differ in their sensitivity, specificity, and ease of interpretation, which may be attributed, to a large extent, to the variable immunoreactivity of these markers in stromal cells including myofibroblasts, vessels, luminal/epithelial cells, and tumor cells.

OBJECTIVE: To review commonly used myoepithelial markers in breast pathology and a selection of diagnostic scenarios where they may be useful.

DATA SOURCES: The information outlined in this review article is based on our experiences with routine cases and a review of English-language articles published between 1987 and 2008.

CONCLUSIONS: To demonstrate the presence or absence of myoepithelial cells, a panel-based approach of 2 or more markers is recommended. Markers that most effectively combine sensitivity, specificity, and ease of interpretation include smooth muscle myosin heavy chains, calponin, p75, p63, P-cadherin, basal cytokeratins, maspin, and CD10. These markers, however, display varying cross-reactivity patterns and variably reduced expression in the myoepithelial cells bordering in situ carcinomas. The choice of a myoepithelial marker should be dependent on a combination of factors, including published evidence on its diagnostic utility, its availability, performance characteristics that have been achieved in a given laboratory, and the specific diagnostic scenario. When its use is deemed necessary, immunohistochemistry for myoepithelial cells in breast pathology is most effective when conceptualized as supplemental, rather than central to routine morphologic interpretation.

PMID: 21466356 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Source: Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.

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