Aims: To clarify MUC1 patterns in invasive ductal breast carcinoma and to relate them to clinicopathological parameters, coexpression of other biological markers and prognosis.
Methods and results: Samples from 243 consecutive patients with primary ductal carcinoma were incorporated into tissue microarrays (TMAs). Slides were stained for MUC1, oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), Her2/neu, p53 and cyclin D1. Apical membrane MUC1 expression was associated with smaller tumours (P = 0.001), lower tumour grades (P <0.001), PR positivity (P = 0.003) and increased overall survival (OS; P = 0.030). Diffuse cytoplasmic MUC1 expression was associated with cyclin D1 positivity (P = 0.009) and increased relapse-free survival (RFS; P = 0.034). Negativity for MUC1 was associated with ER negativity (P = 0.004), PR negativity (P = 0.001) and cyclin D1 negativity (P = 0.009). In stepwise multivariate analysis MUC1 negativity was an independent predictor of both RFS [hazard ratio (HR) 3.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.5, 8.5; P = 0.005] and OS (HR 14.7, 9 5% Cl 4.9, 44. 1; P <0.001).
Conclusions: The expression pattern of MUC1 in invasive ductal breast carcinoma is related to tumour characteristics and clinical outcome. In addition, negative MUC1 expression is an independent risk factor for poor RFS and OS, besides 'classical' prognostic indicators.