Breast malignant, males, children
Carcinoma subtypes
Signet ring cell variant of invasive ductal carcinoma

Author: Monika Roychowdhury, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 2 January 2017, last major update August 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed search: Signet ring cell [title] breast

Cite this page: Signet ring cell variant of invasive ductal carcinoma. website. Accessed June 24th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Ductal carcinoma with cells resembling gastric carcinoma due to acidic mucin that fills cytoplasm and displaces nucleus
  • Excludes cases with lobular features (signet ring variant of lobular carcinoma)
Case reports
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Mucin fills cytoplasm and displaces nucleus
  • Usually coexists with invasive ductal NOS
  • High nuclear grade; DCIS may be present, but no lobular features (by definition)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Breast metastasis to stomach

Signet ring cells form a sheet

Extracellular mucin production

Cytology description
  • Look for signet ring cells if plasmacytoid cells are identified
  • Favor ductal carcinoma if hypercellular, single signet ring cells, high nuclear grade and tubule formation
  • Favor lobular carcinoma if hypocellular, single signet ring cells and mild / moderate nuclear grade (Cytopathology 2009;20:321)
Differential diagnosis