Cutaneous and mammary apocrine carcinomas have different immunoprofiles

Adriano Piris, Yan Peng, Chakib Boussahmain, Lydia R. Essary, Thomas M. Gudewicz, Mai P. Hoang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Often the distinction of cutaneous apocrine carcinoma from metastatic mammary apocrine carcinoma to the skin can be a diagnostic dilemma because both tumors share similar histologic features and have overlapping immunohistochemical profile. We compared the expression of adipophilin, cytokeratin 5/6, p63, GATA3, mammaglobin, androgen receptor, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 by immunohistochemistry in 14 cutaneous apocrine carcinomas (11 primary tumors, 3 metastases) and 26 primary apocrine carcinomas of the breast. Whereas focal adipophilin staining was seen in 36% (5/14) of cutaneous apocrine carcinoma, strong and diffuse adipophilin staining was seen in 88% (22/25) of mammary apocrine carcinoma (P =.0013). Differences in estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor expression were also statistically significant (P =.018 and.043). Androgen receptor was strongly positive in all cutaneous and mammary cases. Although there was no significant difference in the frequency of expression of cytokeratin 5/6, p63, HER2, GATA3, and mammaglobin in cutaneous apocrine carcinoma versus mammary apocrine carcinoma, strong and diffuse cytokeratin 5/6 and/or mammaglobin expression were seen only in cutaneous apocrine carcinoma. In conclusion, cutaneous apocrine carcinoma is likely adipophilin- ER+ PR+/- HER2- and can exhibit strong and diffuse cytokeratin 5/6 and/or mammaglobin expression. On the contrary, a mammary apocrine carcinoma is likely adipophilin+ ER- PR- and often exhibit 3+ HER2 with corresponding HER2 gene amplification. A panel of adipophilin, ER, PR, HER2, cytokeratin 5/6, and mammaglobin may be helpful in distinguishing cutaneous apocrine carcinoma from mammary apocrine carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-326
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Adipophilin
  • Androgen receptor
  • Cytokeratin 5/6
  • Estrogen receptor
  • GATA3
  • HER2/neu
  • Mammaglobin
  • Progesterone receptor
  • p63

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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