Aims: To classify MUC1 according to five predefined expression patterns in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and related clinicopathological parameters, coexpression of other biological markers and prognosis.
Methods and results: With a manual tissue arrayer, 92% (n = 80) of the 87 DCIS samples were successfully targeted. Immunohistochemistry was carried out for MUC1, oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), Her2/Neu, p53 and cyclin D1. Entire membrane expression was related to Her2/neu negativity (P =0.042). Apical membrane expression was associated with low grade (P = 0.027), Her2/neu negativity (P = 0.014) and PR positivity (P = 0.005). Focal cytoplasmic expression was related to high grade (P = 0.006). Diffuse cytoplasmic expression was associated with high grade (P = 0.004), large tumour size (P = 0.046), Her2/neu positivity (P = 0.042) and cyclin D1 positivity (P = 0.002). On the basis of these analyses the four patterns were reclassified as membranous or cytoplasmic expression. On multivariate analysis, cytoplasmic MUC1 expression (hazard ratio 8.5, 95% confidence interval 1.0, 73.0; P = 0.04) was the only independent predictor of local recurrence.
Conclusions: Four patterns of MUC1 expression are recognized in DCIS that suggest a relationship to functional differentiation and can be simplified into two types that are clinically relevant and could therefore be helpful in the distinction between different subgroups of DCIS.