Molecular and morphologic distinctions between infiltrating ductal and lobular carcinoma of the breast

Breast J. 2007 Mar-Apr;13(2):172-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4741.2007.00393.x.


Histopathologic distinction between ductal and lobular carcinomas of the breast has been made since 1941. Together, these two subtypes account for >95% of all mammary carcinomas. With the recent advances in molecular techniques, our understanding of the biology behind these carcinomas has greatly expanded. The genomic aberrations in mammary carcinoma are highly complex and appear to be more associated with tumor grade rather than any histopathologic subtype. Protein and RNA expression profiling reveals a classification of mammary carcinoma that has some overlap with traditional histopathology and can at least partially explain clinical behavior. The goal of this review is to present what is currently known about the molecular profiles of infiltrating ductal and lobular carcinoma and how they relate to conventional histopathology and biologic behavior.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / pathology*
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genes, erbB-2 / genetics
  • Genomic Instability
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD
  • CDH1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • Receptor, ErbB-2