Metaplastic breast carcinoma is a rare type of breast cancer. Due largely to the lack of drug targets and the high heterogeneity of tumor components, metaplastic breast cancers are difficult to manage. The incidence of metaplastic breast cancer has been rising during the past decade, becoming the leading cause of cancer-related death among women in the Western world. However, there is no standard treatment for this subgroup of breast cancer. Individualized genetic profiling may provide promising targets for therapeutic development. The transcriptional regulator p63, a member of the p53 tumor suppressor family, appears to play a key role in the maintenance and regeneration of epithelial stem cells and is actively involved in the pathogenesis of metaplastic breast carcinoma. Positivity of p63 has been applied in the diagnosis of metaplastic carcinomas of the breast. Further explorations are necessary to reveal the mechanisms underlying p63 upregulation in metaplastic breast carcinomas and the downstream gene targets of this protein, which will facilitate the therapeutic development for this disease.
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