Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer as a Distinct Disease: Implications for Therapeutic Strategy

Oncol Ther. 2020 Jun;8(1):1-11. doi: 10.1007/s40487-019-00105-0. Epub 2019 Dec 24.


Invasive lobular carcinoma comprises 10-15% of all breast cancers and is increasingly recognised as a distinct and understudied disease compared with the predominant histological subtype, invasive ductal carcinoma. Hallmarks of invasive lobular carcinoma include E-cadherin loss, leading to discohesive morphology with cells proliferating in single-file strands and oestrogen receptor positivity, with favourable response to endocrine therapy. This review summarises the distinct histological and molecular features of invasive lobular carcinoma with focus on diagnostic challenges and the impact on surgical management and medical therapy. Emphasis is placed on recent advances in our understanding of the unique molecular biology of lobular breast cancer and how this is optimising our therapy approach in the clinic.

Keywords: Aromatase inhibitors; Breast cancer; Endocrine therapy; Histology; Immunotherapy; Invasive lobular carcinoma; Molecular biology; Surgical management; Tamoxifen; Targeted therapy.

Publication types

  • Review