Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 155, Issue 2, pp 405–413 | Cite as

Clinically advanced and metastatic pure mucinous carcinoma of the breast: a comprehensive genomic profiling study

  • Jeffrey S. Ross
  • Laurie M. Gay
  • Sahar Nozad
  • Kai Wang
  • Siraj M. Ali
  • Ann Boguniewicz
  • Depinder Khaira
  • Adrienne Johnson
  • Julia A. Elvin
  • Jo-Anne Vergilio
  • James Suh
  • Vincent A. Miller
  • Philip J. Stephens
Brief Report



Pure mucinous breast carcinoma (pmucBC) is a distinctive variant of breast cancer (BC) featuring an excellent overall prognosis. However, on rare occasions, pmucBC pursues an aggressive clinical course. We queried whether comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) would uncover clinically relevant genomic alterations (CRGA) that could lead to targeted therapy treatment for patients with an advanced and metastatic form of pmucBC.


From a series of 51,238 total cancer samples, which included 5605 cases of clinically advanced BC and 22 cases of stage IV pmucBC, DNA was extracted from 40 microns of FFPE sections. Comprehensive genomic profiling was performed using a hybrid-capture, adaptor ligation-based next generation sequencing assay to a mean coverage depth of 564X. The results were analyzed for all classes of genomic alterations (GA) including base substitutions, insertions and deletions, select rearrangements, and copy number changes. Clinically relevant genomic alterations were defined as those indicating possible treatment with anti-cancer drugs on the market or in registered clinical trials.


Samples were obtained from breast (11), lymph nodes (3), chest wall (2), liver (2), soft tissue (2), bone (1), and pleura (1). The median age of the 22 pmucBC patients was 57 years (range 32–79 years). Three pmucBCs were grade 1, 17 were grade 2, and 2 were grade 3. Twenty-one (95 %) pmucBC were ER+, 18 (82 %) were PR+, and 3 (14 %) were HER2+ by IHC and/or FISH. A total of 132 GA were identified (6.0 GA per tumor), including 53 CRGA, for a mean of 2.4 GA per tumor. Amplification of FGFR1 or ZNF703, located within the same amplicon, was found in 8 of 22 cases (36 %). This enrichment of FGFR1 amplification in 36 % of pmucBC versus 11 % of non-mucinous ER+ BC (601 cases) was significant (p < 0.005). Other frequently altered genes of interest in pmucBC were CCND1 and the FGF3/FGF4/FGF19 amplicon (27 %), often co-amplified together. ERBB2/HER2 alterations were identified in 5 pmucBC (23 %): ERBB2 amplification was found in 3 of 3 cases (100 %) that were HER2+ by IHC and/or FISH; 1 pmucBC was negative for HER2 overexpression by IHC, but positive for amplification by CGP; and 2 pmucBC harbored the ERBB2 substitutions D769Y and V777L (one sample also featured ERBB2 amplification). The enrichment of ERBB2 GA in metastatic pmucBC versus non-metastatic primary pmucBC was significant (p = 0.03). CRGA were also found in 20 additional genes including PIK3CA (5), BRCA1 (1), TSC2 (1), STK11 (1), AKT3 (1), and ESR1 (1).


Metastatic pmucBC is a distinct form of breast cancer that features a relatively high frequency of CRGA, including a significant enrichment of FGFR1 alterations and a high frequency of ERBB2 alterations when compared with non-metastatic pmucBC. These findings suggest that CGP can identify a variety of known and emerging therapy targets that have the potential to improve outcomes for patients with clinically advanced and metastatic forms of this disease.


Mucinous breast carcinoma ERBB2 FGFR1 Comprehensive genomic profiling DNA sequencing 



This study was funded by Foundation Medicine, Inc. and samples in this study were analyzed using FoundationOne genomic profiling.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

J Ross, L Gay, K Wang, S Ali, D Khaira, A Johnson, J Elvin, J Vergilio, J Suh, V Miller, and P Stephens are employees of Foundation Medicine, Inc. and own stock or hold stock options in the company. S Nozad and A Boguniewicz declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

10549_2016_3682_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey S. Ross
    • 1
    • 2
  • Laurie M. Gay
    • 2
  • Sahar Nozad
    • 1
  • Kai Wang
    • 2
  • Siraj M. Ali
    • 2
  • Ann Boguniewicz
    • 1
  • Depinder Khaira
    • 2
  • Adrienne Johnson
    • 2
  • Julia A. Elvin
    • 2
  • Jo-Anne Vergilio
    • 2
  • James Suh
    • 2
  • Vincent A. Miller
    • 2
  • Philip J. Stephens
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pathology, Mail Code 81Albany Medical CollegeAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Foundation Medicine, Inc.CambridgeUSA

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