Other carcinoma subtypes, WHO classified


Last author update: 1 August 2012
Last staff update: 31 May 2022

Copyright: 2002-2022,, Inc.

PubMed Search: tubular carcinoma breast

Monika Roychowdhury, M.D.
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Cite this page: Roychowdhury M. Tubular. website. Accessed August 15th, 2022.
Definition / general
  • Special type of breast carcinoma with favorable prognosis, composed of distinct, well differentiated angular tubular structures (90%+ according to WHO) with open lumina, lined by a single layer of epithelial cells
  • Not actually tubular - pattern is better described as a necklace formed by a string of beads (Stanford University - Tubular Carcinoma of the Breast)
Clinical features
Prognostic factors
Gross description
  • Poorly circumscribed margins, hard consistency, mean size 1 cm
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Yellow-white sclerotic mass

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • 90%+ tubules with low grade features, irregular angulated contours of glands ("teardrop-like"), open lumina with apocrine-like snouts and basophilic secretions / columnar cell lesions in almost all cases (Adv Anat Pathol 2008;15:140), usually with flat epithelial atypia (Am J Surg Pathol 2007;31:417, Pathol Int 2008;58:620)
  • Also desmoplastic stroma
  • May form trabecular bars
  • Frequently invades fat at periphery
  • Fibrous, cellular and elastotic stroma
  • Associated with low grade DCIS in 40 - 65% (micropapillary or cribriform), less often LCIS
  • Minimal pleomorphism
  • No myoepithelial layer, no mitotic figures, no necrosis, no angiolymphatic or perineural invasion and no basement membrane after PAS or type IV collagen staining
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick

AFIP images

Angular glands with cytoplasmic snouts

With < 90% tubular component, arrows point to ductal-type

Perineural invasion completely

With collagenous and
elastotic stroma and
micropapillary DCIS

Axillary nodal metastasis

Reticulin stains stromal
fibers, fibers do not
surround neoplastic glands

Images hosted on other servers:


Cytology description
Positive stains
Negative stains
Electron microscopy description
  • Ductal differentiation, no myoepithelial cells and no basement membrane
Molecular / cytogenetics description
Differential diagnosis
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