Overexpression of c-KIT (CD117) in triple-negative breast cancer

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Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is characterized by the lack of expression of the estrogen receptor and the progesterone receptor, and the absence of HER2 protein expression, thus there is no targeted therapy for this subtype. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the expression of c-KIT, which is a tyrosine kinase transmembrane receptor and has its target therapy. Hematoxylin-stained and eosin-stained sections of 72 mastectomy specimens from female patients immunohistochemically confirmed as having TNBC were assessed for grade (G2, n=22; G3, n=50) and pathological stage (PT2, n=12; PT3, n=44; PT4, n=16). Immunostaining was performed for c-KIT using microwave antigen retrieval and an avidin–biotin complex method. The frequency of immunoreactivity was 75%; there was a significant correlation with tumor grade, lymph node metastasis, and lympho-vascular space invasion but no significant correlation with patient’s age, pathological stage, overall survival, and tumor recurrence. Hence, the overexpression of c-KIT in this category of tumor suggests that it may prove useful as a therapeutic target in TNBC.

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