Yonsei Med J.  2011 Jan;52(1):89-97. 10.3349/ymj.2011.52.1.89.

Clinicopathlogic and Immunohistochemical Characteristics of Triple Negative Invasive Lobular Carcinoma

  • 1Department of Pathology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. Jungwh96@yuhs.ac


Our study is performed to find out clinicopathlogic and immunohistochemical (IHC) characteristics of triple negative invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), as has been demonstrated in their invasive ductal counterparts.
Retrospective analysis of variable clinicopathlogic parameters and IHC stains for androgen receptor, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, p53, c-kit, galectin-3, cytokeratin 5 (CK5), CK5/6, vimentin, E-cadherin, epidermal growth factor receptor, and HER2 were performed in 117 cases of ILC.
Eight cases (6.8%) were triple negative carcinoma (TNC), which showed higher incidence of high histologic grade than non-TNC (p = 0.019). Galectin-3 was expressed with higher incidence in tumor cells of TNC (62.5%) than those of non-TNC (7.3%) (p = 0.000). In contrast, galectin-3 was expressed with higher incidence in stromal cells of non-TNC (53.2%) than those of TNC (12.5%) (p = 0.029). CK5 and CK5/6 were not expressed in all ILCs.
TNC in ILC showed distinct clinicopathologic and IHC characteristics such as higher histologic grade and increased expression of galectin-3, compared to non-TNC in ILC. TNC in ILC was less frequent and did not show CK5 and CK5/6 expression when compared to TNC in invasive ductal carcinoma.


Carcinoma; lobular; triple negative breast cancer

MeSH Terms

Breast Neoplasms/*metabolism
Carcinoma, Lobular/*metabolism
Galectin 3/metabolism
Middle Aged
Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit/metabolism
Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor/metabolism
Receptors, Androgen
Receptors, Estrogen/metabolism
Receptors, Progesterone/metabolism


  • Fig. 1 Comparison of cumulative recurrence free survival (A) and cumulative overall survival (B) between TNC and non-TNC in ILC. TNC, triple negative carcinoma; ILC, invasive lobular carcinoma.

  • Fig. 2 (A) Triple negative phenotype of invasive lobular carcinoma shows scattered tumor cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm and hyperchromatic enlarged nuclei (× 200, H&E). (B) The tumor cells represent galectin-3 expression in cytoplasm (× 200, galectin-3).

  • Fig. 3 (A) Non-triple negative phenotype of invasive lobular carcinoma shows linear strands of tumor cells in the fibrotic stroma (× 200, H&E). It expresses estrogen receptor (B) (× 200, ER) and progesterone receptor (C) (× 200, PR). (D) Peritumoral stromal cells demonstrate galectin-3 expresssion (× 200, galectin-3). ER, estrogen receptor; PR, progesterone receptor.

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Yonsei Med J. 2012;53(6):1142-1146.    doi: 10.3349/ymj.2012.53.6.1142.


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