Clinicopathological and epidemiological significance of breast cancer subtype reclassification based on p53 immunohistochemical expression
Yang, Xiaohong R.
TP53 mutations are common in breast cancer and are typically associated with more aggressive tumor characteristics, but little is known about the clinicopathological and epidemiological relevance of p53 protein expression, a TP53 mutation surrogate, in breast cancer subtypes. In this study of 7226 Chinese women with invasive breast cancer, we defined breast cancer subtypes using immunohistochemical (IHC) measures of hormone receptors and HER2 in conjunction with histologic grade. p53 expression status was then used to further stratify subtypes into p53-positive and p53-negative. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (Cis) in case-only logistic regression analyses were used to examine heterogeneity across different subtypes. The frequency of p53 protein expression varied by breast cancer subtype, being lowest in the luminal A-like and highest in the triple-negative and HER2-enriched subtypes (P-value <0.01). In luminal A-like and B-like/HER2-negative subtypes, p53 positivity was associated with early-onset tumors, high grade, high proliferative index, and basal marker (CK5/6 and EGFR) expression. Further, compared with luminal A-like/p53-negative patients, A-like/p53-positive patients were more likely to be parous [adjusted OR (parous vs. nulliparous) = 2.67 (1.60, 4.51); P-value < 0.01] and to have breastfed [adjusted OR (ever vs. never) = 1.38 (1.03, 1.85); P-value = 0.03]. p53 positivity was not associated with examined clinical and risk factors in other tumor subtypes. Overall, these findings suggest that p53 expression, which is readily available in many settings, can be used to identify phenotypes of luminal A-like breast cancer with distinct clinical and epidemiological implications.