Molecular Subtypes of Breast Cancers from Myanmar Women: A Study of 91 Cases at Two Pathology Centers

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Pathology and Experimental Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan.

2 Department of Pathology, Himeji Red Cross Hospital, Himeji, Japan.

3 Department of Pathology, Myeik General Hospital, Myeik City, Myanmar.

4 Department of Pathology, Sakura Specialist Hospital, Yangon City, Myanmar.

5 Department of Pathology, Central Women Hospital, Mandalay, Myanmar.


Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Myanmar women. Revealing the hormonal receptor status, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and Ki-67 expression is useful for estimating patient prognosis as well as determination of treatment strategy. However, immunohistochemical features and classification of molecular subtypes in breast cancers from Myanmar remain unknown. Methods: The clinicopathological features of 91 breast cancers from Myanmar women were examined. Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue specimens with antibodies to estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), HER2, Ki-67, cytokeratin (CK)5/6 and CK14. Immunohistochemistry-based molecular subtyping was conducted. Results: Breast cancers in Myanmar women were relatively large, high grade with frequent metastatic lymph nodes. Of the 91 patients, tumors with ER positive, PgR positive, and HER2 positive were 57.1%, 37.4%, and 28.6%, respectively. The most prevalent subtype was luminal B (HER2-) (39.6%), followed by HER2 (22.0%), triple negative (TN)-basal-like (12.1%), luminal A (11.0%), TN-null (8.8%) and luminal B (HER2+) (6.6%). The mean Ki-67 expression of 91 cases was 33.9% (33.9% ± 19.2%) and the median was 28% (range; 4%-90%). The mean Ki-67 expression of luminal A, luminal B, HER2 and TN-basal-like/ null was 7%, 30%, 40%, and 57%/43%, respectively. A higher Ki-67 expression significantly correlated with a higher grade, larger size and higher stage of malignancy. Conclusions: We, for the first time, investigated the histopathological features of breast cancers from Myanmar women. Myanmar breast cancers appeared to be aggressive in nature, as evidenced by high frequency of poor-prognosis subtypes with high level of Ki-67 expression.


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