Clinical relevance of the putative stem cell marker p63 in breast cancer

L. Hanker, T. Karn*, E. Ruckhaeberle, R. Gaetje, C. Solbach, M. Schmidt, K. Engels, U. Holtrich, M. Kaufmann, A. Rody

*Corresponding author for this work
22 Citations (Scopus)


P63 is a member of the p53 family. This protein is crucial for the maintenance of a stem cell population in the human epithelium and necessary for the normal development of all epithelial tissues including mammary glands. In normal breast tissue, the p63 seems to be a specific myoepithelial cell marker. P63 expression has been described in highly aggressive ER negative basal-like breast tumors. The value of p63 expression in ER positive disease is less clear. The expression levels of p63 mRNA by Affymetrix microarray analysis in a combined cohort of 2,158 ER positive breast cancers and its prognostic and predictive impact were analyzed. Tumor samples containing large amounts of benign breast tissue, which will interfere with p63 measurement, were excluded prior to the analysis. Survival analysis revealed a better prognosis of ER positive breast cancer expressing p63 (n = 410; P < 0.036). No correlation of p63 with standard parameters was observed. In a subgroup analysis, endocrine-treated patients with high p63 expression showed a better prognosis than low p63 expression (P = 0.06; n = 186). In untreated patients, this effect was less clear (n = 148; P = 0.5). P63 is a positive prognostic factor in endocrine-treated ER positive breast cancer and might influence responsiveness to endocrine treatment. Thus, p63 could be helpful as a predictive factor for endocrine therapy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)765-775
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 08.2010


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