BJC Open article

British Journal of Cancer (2005) 93, 1046–1052. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6602787 www.bjcancer.com
Published online 20 September 2005

Clinical characteristics of different histologic types of breast cancer

C I Li1, D J Uribe1 and J R Daling1

1Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N., M4-C308, PO Box 19024, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA

Correspondence: Dr CI Li, E-mail: cili@fhcrc.org

Received 27 June 2005; Revised 5 August 2005; Accepted 15 August 2005
Advance online publication 20 September 2005



Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease, though little is known about some of its rarer forms, including certain histologic types. Using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program data on 135157 invasive breast cancer cases diagnosed from 1992 to 2001, relationships between nine histologic types of breast cancer and various tumour characteristics were assessed. Among women aged 50–89 years at diagnosis, lobular and ductal/lobular carcinoma cases were more likely to be diagnosed with stage III/IV, greater than or equal to5.0cm, and node-positive tumours compared to ductal carcinoma cases. Mucinous, comedo, tubular, and medullary carcinomas were less likely to present at an advanced stage. Lobular, ductal/lobular, mucinous, tubular, and papillary carcinomas were less likely, and comedo, medullary, and inflammatory carcinomas were more likely to be oestrogen receptor (ER) negative/progesterone receptor (PR) negative and high grade (notably, 68.2% of medullary carcinomas were ER−/PR− vs 19.3% of ductal carcinomas). In general, similar differences were observed among women diagnosed at age 30–49 years. Inflammatory carcinomas are associated with more aggressive tumour phenotypes, and mucinous, tubular, and papillary tumours are associated with less aggressive phenotypes. The histologic types of breast cancer studied here differ greatly in their clinical presentations, and the differences in their hormone receptor profiles and grades point to their likely different aetiologies.


breast carcinoma; histology; SEER; stage; oestrogen receptor



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