Stains & molecular markers
p120 catenin


Topic Completed: 1 September 2018

Minor changes: 3 September 2020

Copyright: 2018-2020, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: p120 catenin[title] pathology

Cameron Neely, M.D.
Xiaoxian (Bill) Li, M.D., Ph.D.
Page views in 2019: 3,995
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Cite this page: Neely CE, Li X. p120 catenin. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/stainsp120.html. Accessed September 21st, 2020.
Definition / general
  • p120 catenin (along with α, β and γ catenins) connects the transmembrane protein E-cadherin to the actin cytoskeleton in the cell cytoplasm (Histopathology 2016;68:57)
Essential features
Pathophysiology
Interpretation
Uses by pathologists
Prognostic factors
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Debra Zynger, M.D.

Atypical lobular hyperplasia

Lobular carcinoma in situ


Invasive lobular carcinoma

Invasive ductal carcinoma



Images hosted on other servers:

E-cadherin, p120 catenin
and their cocktail in
ductal carcinoma in situ

E-cadherin, p120 catenin
and their cocktail in
lobular carcinoma in situ

Positive staining - normal
Positive staining - tumors
Negative staining - normal
  • p120 catenin is generally not completely negative
Molecular / cytogenetics description
  • Not detected by FISH, PCR or any other molecular methods
Board review style question #1
Which of the following immunoprofiles is most consistent with invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast?

  1. GATA3-, CK7-, E-cadherin-, p120 catenin diffuse cytoplasmic
  2. GATA3+, CK7+, E-cadherin+, p120 catenin strong membranous
  3. GATA3+, CK7+, E-cadherin-, p120 catenin strong membranous
  4. GATA3+, CK7+, E-cadherin+, p120 catenin diffuse cytoplasmic
Board review answer #1
B. GATA3+, CK7+, E-cadherin+, p120 catenin strong membranous. E-cadherin positivity and strong membranous p120 catenin staining are consistent with ductal carcinoma. Diffuse cytoplasmic p120 catenin staining and absence of E-cadherin would be consistent with lobular carcinoma.
Board review style question #2
A p120 immunostain of a breast proliferation is shown. What is the most likely diagnosis?



  1. Atypical ductal hyperplasia
  2. Atypical lobular hyperplasia
  3. Invasive ductal carcinoma
  4. Invasive lobular carcinoma
Board review answer #2
B. Atypical lobular hyperplasia

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