ABSTRACT Triple negative breast carcinomas (TNBC), are defined by the absence of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expression. The majority of TNBC are “basal-like”, a group originally defined by studies of mRNA gene expression profiles, but increasingly defined in the clinic by using surrogate markers such as CK 5/6. However, not all TNBC are basal-like. It is postulated that these subcategories of TNBC have distinct underlying biologies that drive their ultimate behavior, and response to treatment, with important implications for designing appropriate targeted therapies. In this study we report that within our cohort of 197 TNBC, distinct groups were identified that varied by CK 5/6 and p53 expression based on age and race. We propose that awareness of CK5/6 and p53 expression in younger and AA TNBC patients may facilitate identifying patients with unique tumor subtypes and may lead to better use of targeted therapies in this group of aggressive breast cancers.
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