Breast malignant, males, children
Morphologic variants of DCIS
Cribriform DCIS

Topic Completed: 1 January 2012

Revised: 7 August 2019

Copyright: (c) 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Cribriform DCIS

Dina Kandil, M.D.
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Cite this page: Kandil D Cribriform DCIS. website. Accessed August 23rd, 2019.
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Multiple secondary lumens having round, regular spaces with sharp borders that appear to be made from "cookie-cutters," usually low grade
  • Nuclear palisading around the lumens (the long axes of the nuclei are perpendicular to the lumens
  • May have small, regular fenestrations (Latin, the arrangement of windows in a building), giving a sieve like appearance
  • Nuclei are usually small and uniform, equidistant from each other; usually no necrosis
  • Trabecular bars: rigid rows of cells with long axes perpendicular or at least not parallel to long axis of the bar (not just partial detachments of duct lining)
  • Roman bridges: curvilinear trabecular bars connecting two portions of the epithelial lining
Microscopic (histologic) images

Uniform cells either haphazard or at right angles to long axis of intraductal columns (AFIP)

Prominent Roman bridge (AFIP)

Cribriform growth due
to merging of intraductal
epithelial bridges

Contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick

Low grade

Images hosted on other servers:

Regular punched out fenestrations and distension of duct

Glandular spaces and monotonous epithelial cells

Round fenestrations

Fenestrations, Roman bridges and trabecular bars

With microcalcifications

Glandular spaces and monotonous epithelial cells

Low grade cytology but with comedonecrosis


Various stains


Cytology images

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Positive stains
Differential diagnosis
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma: true glandular lumina lined by ductal epithelium and eosinophilic "cylinders" with basement membrane material lined by basal cells; usually ER- and PR- CD117+ luminal cells, p63+, calponin and smooth muscle actin negative
  • Atypical ductal hyperplasia: cells are pleomorphic and occupy less than 2 duct spaces
  • Collagenous spherulosis: intraductal lumina of hyaline, acellular eosinophilic spherules lined by myoepithelial cells
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