Virchows Archiv

, Volume 471, Issue 1, pp 13–21 | Cite as

Expression of calretinin in high-grade hormone receptor-negative invasive breast carcinomas: correlation with histological and molecular subtypes

Original Article


Calretinin expression has been reported in neoplasms arising in various organs, including the breast. We investigated the relationship of calretinin expression with different histological and molecular subtypes of invasive breast carcinomas (IBCs) and its prognostic significance in high-grade female hormone receptor-negative IBCs. A total of 196 cases of IBCs of different histological subtypes were analyzed for immunohistochemical expression of calretinin, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), basal-like (BL), apocrine, and proliferative markers and grouped in different molecular subtypes. We found significant morphological differences in the group of formally classified invasive ductal carcinoma of no special type (IDC-NST), which we further subdivided into two types (type I IDC-NST and type II IDC-NST) according to their morphology. Calretinin expression was found in 55.1% of the IBCs and was strongly associated with carcinoma with medullary features (P = 0.014) and type II IDC-NST (P < 0.001), while type I IDC-NST correlated (P < 0.001) with a lack of calretinin expression. Among the molecular subtypes of IBC, calretinin expression was identified in a significant portion of BL breast cancers (BLBCs), while expression was poor in HER2-overexpressing and molecular-apocrine (MA) HER2-negative subtypes and even less in MA/HER2+ ones. Calretinin expression was significantly associated with high (≥50) Ki-67 (P = 0.02), but not with parameters like age, tumor size, lymph node status, overall survival (OS), and disease-free survival. Calretinin expression is most common in high-grade IBCs with histological medullary features, type II IDC-NST and BL phenotype, and is associated with high neoplastic proliferative index.


Calretinin High-grade invasive breast carcinomas Molecular subtypes of invasive breast cancer 



This study has been carried out using instrumentations from Multimedica.

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

This study was performed in agreement with the ethical standards laid down in the 1975 Declaration of Helsinki and its revision in 1983 and according to the roles of the Ethics Committee of the “ASST SetteLaghi,” Varese, Italy. Being the study, a retrospective observational one, in our district, is not needed to submit it to an ethics committee.


This study was supported by Multimedica Group and by a grant of the University of Insubria.

Supplementary material

428_2017_2149_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (197 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 196 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donata Micello
    • 1
  • Alberto Bossi
    • 2
  • Alessandro Marando
    • 3
  • Emanuele Dainese
    • 3
  • Fausto Sessa
    • 4
  • Carlo Capella
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Anatomic Pathology UnitMultimedicaMilanItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Molecular Science and Technologies of the CNR, CNR-ISTMMilanItaly
  3. 3.Department of Laboratory, Surgical Pathology DivisionA. Manzoni HospitalLeccoItaly
  4. 4.Department of Medicine and SurgeryUniversity of InsubriaVareseItaly

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