Other carcinoma subtypes, WHO classified


Topic Completed: 1 October 2012

Minor changes: 8 March 2021

Copyright: 2001-2021,, Inc.

PubMed search: cribriform carcinoma [title] breast invasive

Monika Roychowdhury, M.D.
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Cite this page: Roychowdhury M. Cribriform. website. Accessed October 28th, 2021.
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

Cytology description
Positive stains
Electron microscopy description
Differential diagnosis
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