Neuroendocrine (NE) carcinomas of the breast share morphologic and immunohistochemical features with NE tumors of other sites, either resembling typical carcinoids or the highly aggressive small cell carcinoma. In addition, some mucinous carcinomas or solid/papillary carcinomas may show a major NE component. This is generally recognized by specific immunodetection of pan-endocrine markers, although this approach may fail to recognize NE tumors lacking immunoreactivity for some NE products, because the antigen is produced but not retained in the cytoplasm. It has recently been reported that high molecular weight (HMW) cytokeratin (CK), recognized by clone 34betaE12, immunostaining selectively labels non-NE carcinomas (squamous-cell and adenocarcinomas) of the aerodigestive tract and lung. The role of such CK immunodetection in the differential diagnosis of NE carcinoma of the breast was evaluated. Twenty-four cases of breast carcinomas having NE differentiation were selected. Twenty-four cases of non-NE invasive breast carcinomas served as controls. HMW CK immunoreactivity was found in all but one case of non-NE carcinomas, but in only two NE tumors (having scattered positive cells only). The authors conclude that in breast carcinomas the presence of HMW CK immunoreactivity favors the diagnosis of non-NE carcinoma, whereas its absence supports that of a NE tumor (either a carcinoid or a small cell carcinoma or a mucinous carcinoma). HMW CK can be added to the list of markers useful in the differential diagnosis of NE from non-NE tumors.
34betaE12 cytokeratin immunodetection in the differential diagnosis of neuroendocrine carcinomas of the breast. / PAPOTTI M ;SAPINO A ;RIGHI L ;CHIAPPONE S ;BUSSOLATI G. - In: APPLIED IMMUNOHISTOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR MORPHOLOGY. - ISSN 1541-2016. - 9(2001), pp. 229-233.