Background:Epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) is frequently expressed in breast cancer, and its expression has been associated with poor prognosis. Breast cancer can be subdivided into intrinsic subtypes, differing in prognosis and response to therapy.Methods:To investigate the association between EpCAM expression and prognosis in the intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer, we performed immunohistochemical studies on a tissue microarray encompassing a total of 1365 breast cancers with detailed clinicopathological annotation and outcomes data.Results:We observed EpCAM expression in 660 out of 1365 (48%) cases. EpCAM expression varied significantly in the different intrinsic subtypes. In univariate analyses of all cases, EpCAM expression was associated with a significantly worse overall survival. In the intrinsic subtypes, EpCAM expression was associated with an unfavourable prognosis in the basal-like and luminal B HER2 + subtypes but associated with a favourable prognosis in the HER2 subtype. Consistently, specific ablation of EpCAM resulted in increased cell viability in the breast cancer cell line SKBR3 (ER -, PR-, and HER2+) but decreased viability in the breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 (ER-, PR-, and HER2-).Conclusion:The differential association of EpCAM expression with prognosis in intrinsic subtypes has important implications for the development of EpCAM-targeted therapies in breast cancer.