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Luminal B tumors are the most frequent molecular subtype in breast cancer of North African women: an immunohistochemical profile study from Morocco

Hinde El Fatemi1*, Sanae Chahbouni1, Sofia Jayi2, Kaoutar Moumna1, My Abdelilah Melhouf1, Abdelaziz Bannani2, Omar Mesbahi3 and Afaf Amarti1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, Hassan II teaching hospital, Fez, Morocco

2 Department of Gynecology, Hassan II teaching hospital, Fez, Morocco

3 Department of Oncology, Hassan II teaching hospital, Fez, Morocco

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Diagnostic Pathology 2012, 7:170  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-7-170

Published: 7 December 2012



Breast cancer may be classified into luminal A, luminal B, HER2+/ER-, basal-like and normal-like subtypes based on gene expression profiling or immunohistochemical (IHC) characteristics. The aim of our study is to show the molecular profile characteristic of breast cancer in the North African population of Morocco. This work showed preliminary results and correlations with clinicopathological and histological parameters. Three hundred and ninety primary breast carcinomas tumor tissues were immunostained for ER, PR, HER2, CK5/6, CK8/18 and Ki67 using paraffin tissue.


We reviewed 390 cases of breast cancer diagnosed on January 2008 to December 2011 at the Department of pathology, Hassan II teaching hospital, Fez, Morocco. Age, size tumor, metastatic profile, node involvement profile, histological type and immunohistochemical profile were studied.


The average age was 46 years; our patients were diagnosed late with a high average tumor size. Luminal B subtype was more prevalent (41.8%), followed by luminal A (30.5%), basal-like (13, 6%), Her2-overexpressing (9, 2%), and unclassified subtype (4.9%).


This study showed that molecular classification and biological profile may be different according to geographical distribution, to encourage further studies to know the genomic profile of tumors and the environment.

Virtual slide webcite

Breast cancer; Molecular classification; Luminal B subtype; Staging; Antibodies; Immunohistochemistry