Other carcinoma subtypes, WHO classified

Topic Completed: 1 October 2012

Minor changes: 21 June 2020

Copyright: 2001-2019,, Inc.

PubMed search: cribriform carcinoma [title] breast invasive

Monika Roychowdhury, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 6,273
Page views in 2020 to date: 4,464
Cite this page: Roychowdhury M. Cribriform. website. Accessed October 24th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Invasive tumor with cribriform pattern similar to cribriform DCIS
  • May have minor (< 50%) component of tubular carcinoma
Clinical features
  • Rare (1% - 3% of breast carcinomas), related to tubular carcinoma (Histopathology 1983;7:525)
  • Nodal metastases in 14%
  • Mixed patterns have intermediate prognosis between invasive cribriform and invasive ductal carcinomas
Prognostic factors
Case reports
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Low grade, cribriform appearance (well defined spaces formed by arches of cells) similar to cribriform DCIS but with larger cells, more cytoplasm and more vesicular nuclei
  • Tumor cells are small, often have apical snouts, mild / moderate nuclear pleomorphism
  • Also stromal invasion by islands of cells, often angulated
  • May have predominantly solid appearance
  • Associated with cribriform DCIS
  • Often mixed with tubular carcinoma
  • No / rare mitotic figures, no mucin production
  • Note: pure pattern is defined as 90%+ cribriform; also considered "classic" even if minor component of tubular carcinoma
Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images

Extensive secondary lumen
formation with angular
clusters of tumor cells

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Perineural invasion

Cytology description
Positive stains
Electron microscopy description
Differential diagnosis
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