Breast cancer is leading cancer in women, and the incidence of breast cancer in India is on the rise. The most common histologic type of breast cancer is infiltrating ductal carcinoma. Prognostic and predictive factors are used in the management of breast cancer.
A patient with prior invasive lobular breast cancer had a new lump detected in the right breast with overlapping features of ductal and lobular carcinoma, requiring an E-cadherin stain. E-cadherin results showed a ductal carcinoma. A 56 year old asymptomatic female had a positive family history for breast cancer.
IHC, or ImmunoHistoChemistry, is a special staining process performed on fresh or frozen breast cancer tissue removed during biopsy. This information plays a critical role in treatment planning. IHC is the most commonly used test to see if a tumor has too much of the HER2 receptor protein on the surface of the cancer cells. With too many HER2 receptors, the cells receive too many signals telling it to grow and divide.
Molecular studies of breast cancer revealed biological heterogeneity of the disease and opened new perspectives for personalized therapy. While multiple gene expression-based systems have been developed, current clinical practice is largely based upon conventional clinical and pathologic criteria. This gap may be filled by development of combined multi-IHC indices to characterize biological and clinical behaviour of the tumours.
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