C-KIT expression in ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast: Co-expression with HER-2/neu

Raihanatou Diallo, Achim Rody, Christian Jackisch, Evelyn Ting, Karl Ludwig Schaefer, Stefan Kissler, Thomas Karn, Helene Geddert, Knut Engels, Manfred Kaufmann, Helmut E. Gabbert, Kenneth R. Shroyer, Christopher Poremba*

*Corresponding author for this work
21 Citations (Scopus)


The proto-oncogene c-KIT (CD117) is highly expressed in normal breast epithelium and is decreased in invasive breast cancer. In this study, we analyzed the protein expression and the mutational status of c-KIT in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast and correlated these findings with nuclear grade, architectural pattern, and expression of HER-2, estrogen receptor (ER)-α, and progesterone receptor (PR). C-KIT, HER-2, ER, and PR expression were analyzed immunohistochemically in 106 cases of paraffin-embedded DCIS (85 pure DCIS and 21 DCIS with concurrent carcinoma). Direct sequencing of exons 9 and 11 of the c-KIT gene was performed to analyze the hot spot mutational regions in representative cases. C-KIT expression was found in 55 (52.8%) of all DCIS, correlating with high nuclear grade (P < .0001), comedonecrosis (P < .0001), and solid growth pattern (P = .001). Furthermore, c-KIT expression was strongly associated with HER-2 positivity (P < .0001) and was significantly lower in ER- or PR-positive cases (P = .001 and P = .006, respectively). C-KIT expression alone or co-expression with HER-2 in pure DCIS did not differ significantly from DCIS with invasive component (P = .09). Mutational analysis in 6 c-KIT-positive DCIS revealed no activating mutations in exons 9 or 11. Our findings suggest that the expression of c-KIT protein might define a subset of poorly differentiated, HER-2-positive DCIS with decreased expression of steroid hormone receptors, comedonecrosis, and a solid growth pattern. The implications of c-KIT and HER-2 co-expression for breast carcinogenesis should be further evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)205-211
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 02.2006


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