Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 124, Issue 2, pp 413–417 | Cite as

Solid neuroendocrine carcinomas of the breast: metastases or primary tumors?

  • Christiane Richter-Ehrenstein
  • Juliane Arndt
  • Ann-Christin Buckendahl
  • Jan Eucker
  • Wilko Weichert
  • Atsuko Kasajima
  • Achim Schneider
  • Aurelia Noske
Clinical trial


Neuroendocrine breast carcinomas are rare but may represent either metastatic or primary lesions. So far, clinical and preoperative histopathological examinations do not distinguish properly between a primary or metastatic breast tumor. Due to any possible consequences following an appropriate treatment, markers which may be helpful for such a distinguishment are needed. We addressed this study in order to evaluate the immunohistochemical expression of GCDFP-15 and mammaglobin in a subset of pure neuroendocrine breast carcinomas (n = 9) and compared the expression profile with a cohort of non-mammary neuroendocrine tumors (n = 99). We observed in our study that solid neuroendocrine breast carcinomas are characterized by the expression of estrogen and progesterone receptors as well as GCDFP-15 and/or mammaglobin. GCDFP-15 was expressed in 6 out of 9 cases, mammaglobin was positive in 4 out of 9 tumors. In contrast, neuroendocrine tumors of the non-mammary cohort expressed neither GCDFP-15 nor mammaglobin. We conclude that mammaglobin and GCDFP-15 as markers of epithelial breast origin may work as a new and reliable diagnostic tool to distinguish primary endocrine tumors of the breast from a metastatic neuroendocrine disease. This is of utmost importance, especially for surgical management.


Breast cancer Neuroendocrine tumors GCDFP-15 Mammaglobin 


Conflict of interest

The authors of this work have not received any funding or financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christiane Richter-Ehrenstein
    • 1
  • Juliane Arndt
    • 1
  • Ann-Christin Buckendahl
    • 2
  • Jan Eucker
    • 3
  • Wilko Weichert
    • 2
  • Atsuko Kasajima
    • 2
  • Achim Schneider
    • 1
  • Aurelia Noske
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Gynecology, Interdisciplinary Breast CenterCharité University Medicine BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institute of PathologyCharité University Medicine BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Department of Oncology and HematologyCharité University Medicine BerlinBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Clinical PathologyUniversity Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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