Myoepithelial cell differentiation markers in ductal carcinoma in situ progression

Tanya D. Russell, Sonali Jindal, Samiat Agunbiade, Dexiang Gao, Megan Troxell, Virginia F. Borges, Pepper Schedin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We describe a preclinical model that investigates progression of early-stage ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and report that compromised myoepithelial cell differentiation occurs before transition to invasive disease. Human breast cancer cells were delivered into the mouse mammary teat by intraductal injection in the absence of surgical manipulations and accompanying wound-healing confounders. DCIS-like lesions developed throughout the mammary ducts with full representation of human DCIS histologic patterns. Tumor cells were incorporated into the normal mammary epithelium, developed ductal intraepithelial neoplasia and DCIS, and progressed to invasive carcinoma, suggesting the model provides a rigorous approach to study early stages of breast cancer progression. Mammary glands were evaluated for myoepithelium integrity with immunohistochemical assays. Progressive loss of the myoepithelial cell differentiation markers p63, calponin, and α-smooth muscle actin was observed in the mouse myoepithelium surrounding DCIS-involved ducts. p63 loss was an early indicator, calponin loss intermediate, and α-smooth muscle actin a later indicator of compromised myoepithelium. Loss of myoepithelial calponin was specifically associated with gain of the basal marker p63 in adjacent tumor cells. In single time point biopsies obtained from 16 women diagnosed with pure DCIS, a similar loss in myoepithelial cell markers was observed. These results suggest that further research is warranted into the role of myoepithelial cell p63 and calponin expression on DCIS progression to invasive disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3076-3089
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Myoepithelial cell differentiation markers in ductal carcinoma in situ progression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this