Myoepithelial cells in lobular carcinoma in situ: Distribution and immunophenotype

Ying Wang, Sonali Jindal, Maritza Martel, Yaping Wu, Pepper Schedin, Megan Troxell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Myoepithelial cells have important physical and paracrine roles in breast tissue development, maintenance, and tumor suppression. Recent molecular and immunohistochemical studies have demonstrated phenotypic alterations in ductal carcinoma in situ-associated myoepithelial cells. Although the relationship of lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) and myoepithelial cells was described in 1980, further characterization of LCIS-associated myoepithelial cells is lacking. We stained 27 breast specimens harboring abundant LCIS with antibodies to smooth muscle myosin heavy chain, smooth muscle actin, and calponin. Dual stains for E-cadherin/smooth muscle myosin heavy chain and CK7/p63 were also performed. In each case, the intensity and distribution of staining in LCIS-associated myoepithelial cells were compared with normal breast tissue on the same slide. In 78% of the cases, LCIS-associated myoepithelial cells demonstrated decreased staining intensity for one or more myoepithelial markers. The normal localization of myoepithelial cells (flat against the basement membrane, pattern N) was seen in 96% of LCIS, yet 85% of cases had areas with myoepithelial cell cytoplasm oriented perpendicular to the basement membrane (pattern P), and in 30% of cases, myoepithelial cells appeared focally admixed with LCIS cells (pattern C). This study characterizes detailed architectural and immunophenotypic alterations of LCIS-associated myoepithelial cells. The finding of variably diminished staining favors application of several myoepithelial immunostains in clinical practice. The interaction of LCIS with myoepithelial cells, especially in light of the perpendicular and central architectural arrangements, deserves further mechanistic investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Pathology
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Calponin
  • Immunohistochemistry p63
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
  • Myoepithelial cell
  • Smooth muscle actin
  • Smooth muscle myosin heavy chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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