Oncocytic carcinoma of the breast: Frequency, morphology and follow-up

Moira Ragazzi, Dario De Biase, Christine M. Betts, Anna Farnedi, Saime Sezgin Ramadan, Giovanni Tallini, Jorge S. Reis-Filho, Vincenzo Eusebi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oncocytic breast carcinomas are tumors composed of no fewer than 70% of oncocytic cells (World Health Organization). The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency, morphologic, immunohistochemical, and clinical features of invasive oncocytic carcinoma in a large series. Twenty-eight cases of putative oncocytic breast carcinoma (selected cases group) and 76 consecutive cases of invasive breast carcinoma (consecutive cases group) were analyzed. Immunohistochemistry for mitochondria, gross cystic disease fluid protein 15, chromogranin, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, androgen receptor, HER2/Neu, cytokeratin 7, cytokeratin 14, epithelial membrane antigen, and differentiation cluster 68 was performed. Score for mitochondria was based on intensity and percentage of immunopositive cells. Classes were as follows: (1) oncocytic carcinoma: at least 70%, 3+; (2) mitochondrion-rich carcinoma: 50% to 70%, 3+, or more than 50%, 2+; and (3) all the other cases were referred to as invasive breast carcinoma. Ultrastructural examination was available for 6 cases of oncocytic carcinoma. Morphologic and immunohistochemical features of the 3 groups were compared using Fisher exact test (P <.05). For overall survival analysis, Kaplan-Maier curves were compared using log-rank and Wilcoxon tests (P <.05). Our results suggest that oncocytic breast carcinoma is a morphologic entity with distinctive histologic and ultrastructural features. Mitochondrion-rich carcinomas are histologically similar to oncocytic carcinomas and constitute 19.7% of all invasive carcinomas, indicating that cytoplasmic eosinophilia in breast cancer cells is often due to accumulation of mitochondria. Oncocytic carcinomas and mitochondrion-rich carcinomas are more often grade III tumors and show human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 overexpression. Clinical features and overall survival of oncocytic carcinomas are not distinctive because they are similar to those of the other cases when matched for grade and stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-175
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Breast
  • Mitochondrion-rich cells
  • Oncocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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