Metaplastic breast cancer is divided into subtypes based on what the pathologist sees under the microscope. It’s important to know that this is dependent on the pathologist’s experience and that each tumor can appear slightly different under the microscope. In fact, a tumor can have a good deal of variation in itself such that interpreting slides is not always a straight forward simple task. Presently, the World Health Organization has classified Metaplastic Breast Cancer into 6 subtypes:
- Spindle Cell
- Adeno-Squamous cell
Currently, treatment options are not based on subtype and subtypes have not been directly linked to certain DNA mutations. This information is changing constantly, so please discuss with your oncologist if they believe your subtype would dictate certain options for chemotherapy and/or if your subtype would effect your recurrence probability or if it would influence where the recurrence would show up in the body (lung, bone, liver, brain).
The link below may be helpful in understanding the unique Metaplasia (“change in form”) that occurs with Metaplastic Breast Cancers. Above we listed the subtypes and this link may also help you understand the abnormal cellular changes that lead to the MpBC diagnosis.