Immunohistochemical staining of papillary breast lesions

Megan L. Troxell, Marilyn Masek, Richard K. Sibley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The separation of ductal papilloma from intraductal papillary carcinoma of the breast on hematoxylin and eosin stained sections often presents diagnostic difficulty. Immunohistochemical staining is often employed in diagnosis, historically with smooth muscle actin (SMA). In this study, the staining characteristics of a panel of myoepithelial markers (calponin, p63, P-cadherin), were compared with SMA, and the epithelial expression of CD44s was assessed in 99 papillary lesions. SMA, calponin, and p63 demonstrated myoepithelial cells in 61%, 63%, and 65% of papillary lesions, respectively. However, specificity was quite variable. Calponin-stained stromal myofibroblasts (35% of cases), vessel pericytes (92%), and endothelial cells (69%), though each to a lesser degree than SMA. Calponin also showed cross reactivity with epithelium in 18% of cases. p63 was almost completely restricted to myoepithelial cell nuclei, and did not stain vascular smooth muscle or myofibroblasts. However, p63 stained the epithelial component in one papillary carcinoma, a basal layer of cells in 1 biphasic invasive carcinoma, and the cytoplasm in 1 case. P-cadherin stained both epithelial and myoepithelial cells. The epithelial expression of CD44s and did not distinguish papillomas from papillary carcinomas. Thus, P-cadherin and CD44s are not useful in the characterization of papillary lesions. Given increased specificity as compared with SMA, the combination of p63 and calponin is recommended for analysis of breast papillary lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast
  • CD44
  • Calponin
  • P-cadherin
  • Papillary carcinoma
  • Papilloma
  • Smooth muscle actin
  • p63

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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