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Breast malignant, males, children

Carcinoma subtypes

Cribriform carcinoma - invasive

Reviewer: Monika Roychowdhury, M.D., (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 1 October 2012, last major update October 2012
Copyright: (c) 2001-2012, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Invasive tumor with cribriform pattern similar to cribriform DCIS
● May have minor (<50%) component of tubular carcinoma

Clinical description

● 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

Case reports

● 64 year old man with tumor microcalcifications (Breast Cancer 2005;12:145)
● Perineural invasion (Hum Pathol 1992;23:202)
● Internal mammary node metastasis (Tumori 2006;92:241)

Treatment and prognosis

● Excellent prognosis, even with nodal metastases, if restrict diagnosis to pure pattern (Histopathology 1983;7:525, Eur J Gynaecol Oncol 1996;17:228)

Micro 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

Micro images

Various images

Perineural invasion

Luminal microcalcifications

Low grade nuclei

Extensive secondary lumen formation with angular clusters of tumor cells


Cytology description

● Cohesive sheets and three dimensional cribriform clusters of bland ductal cells in a blood-stained background
● Variable osteoclast-like giant cells (Acta Cytol 2001;45:593, Acta Cytol 1992;36:48)

Positive stains

● ER, PR (usually)

Electron microscopy description

● Numerous mitochondria
● Luminal surfaces have abundant microvilli (Ultrastruct Pathol 1994;18:519)

Differential diagnosis

Adenoid cystic carcinoma: second cell population, intracystic basement membrane material and secretory material
Carcinoid tumor: intracytoplasmic granules, positive for neuroendocrine markers
Collagenous spherulosis: intense eosinophilic secretions, circumscribed, not invasive (Am J Surg Pathol 1995;19:1366)
Cribriform DCIS: non infiltrative, clusters are more regularly distributed, myoepithelial layer is present

Additional references

Hum Pathol 1990;21:333
Cribriform Carcinoma of the Breast, Stanford University

End of Breast malignant, males, children > Carcinoma subtypes > Cribriform carcinoma - invasive

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