Myoepithelial Cells: Pathology, Cell Separation and Markers of Myoepithelial Differentiation

  • Catherine Clarke
  • Jennifer Sandle
  • Sunil R. Lakhani


Until recently the myoepithelial cell has been studied relatively little in terms of its role in breast cancer. A number of malignancies showing myoepithelial differentiation have been reported in the literature, although they are still thought to be relatively rare and only limited studies are published. As a result of recent expression profiling experiments, one type of tumor with myoepithelial features, the so-called ‘basal’ breast cancer, has received a renewed interest, although it has been known to pathologists for more than two decades. These tumors, which express markers of both luminal and myoepithelial cells, are now being studied using antibodies against some new molecules that have emerged from studies of sorted normal luminal and myoepithelial cells. These immunohistochemical data, combined with genomic studies, may lead to better identification and management of patients with ‘basal’ tumors.

Key Words

cell separation myoepithelial tumors basal-like tumors basal markers 

Abbreviations used


terminal duct-lobular unit


comparative genomic hybridization




smooth muscle actin


smooth muscle myosin


estrogen receptor


progesterone receptor


fluorescence-activated cell sorting


epithelial membrane antigen


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Clarke
    • 1
  • Jennifer Sandle
    • 1
  • Sunil R. Lakhani
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Molecular & Cellular Pathology, Mayne Medical School, Queensland Institute of Medical Research & The Royal Brisbane and Women’s HospitalUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Molecular and Cellular Pathology, School of Medicine, Mayne Medical SchoolThe University of QueenslandHerstonAustralia

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