December 2012 – The transcription factor Sox10 is expressed in invasive breast carcinomas

Researchers in the Johns Hopkins Division of Breast Pathology report that the transcription factor Sox10 is expressed in a subset of invasive breast carcinomas. In a study published online ahead of print in Human Pathology (, researchers investigated the role of Sox10 in various subtypes of breast tumors. Sox10 is a transcription factor, which means that interacts it with DNA to cause the transcription (or “writing”) of certain genes from DNA into RNA to become proteins. It was previously thought that Sox10 was specific to cells derived from the neural crest, such as the melanocytes of normal skin and of the tumor melanoma, as well as the benign myoepithelial cells of the breast. In this study, our researchers found that 40% of breast carcinomas labeled for the Sox10 transcription factor by immunohistochemistry, and this expression which was seen primarily in aggressive subtypes of the basal-like, unclassified triple negative and metaplastic carcinomas. These findings show that breast carcinoma must be considered in the differential diagnosis of melanoma for a mestastatic malignant neoplasm that is positive for S100 and Sox10. Additionally, Sox10 expression in the basal-like, unclassified triple negative, and metaplastic carcinomas supports the concept that these neoplasms show myoepithelial (or basal-like) differentiation. This research suggests that potential treatments targeting the Sox10 pathway may be useful in the most aggressive types of breast carcinoma.

Reference: Cimino-Mathews A, Subhawong AP, Elwood H, Warzecha HN, Sharma R, Park BH, Taube JM, Illei PB, Argani P. Neural crest transcription factor Sox10 is preferentially expressed in triple-negative and metaplastic breast carcinomas. Hum Pathol. 2012 Dec 19.[Epub ahead of print].

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