Tubulolobular Carcinoma

Tubulolobular Carcinoma

Tubulolobular carcinoma is a rare type of carcinoma composed of 2 distinct components: Well-formed tubules image and a single cell infiltrative pattern typical of invasive lobular carcinoma image.

Although a lobular pattern of infiltration is present image, the cells are E-cadherin positive. Tubules image and the frequent association with DCIS image also distinguish TLC from lobular carcinoma.



  • Tubulolobular carcinoma (TLC)


  • Morphologically distinct type of mammary carcinoma with 2 components consisting of minute well-formed tubules and single discohesive cells

  • TLC is not a synonym for carcinoma with ductal and lobular features


Morphologic and Phenotypic Studies of TLC

  • Characterized by having both tubular (“ductal”) and single cell (“lobular”) morphologic components

    • Initially described as tubular variant of lobular carcinoma

    • Later studies demonstrated that TLC expresses E-cadherin and other cell adhesion molecules

    • Supports classification of TLC as variant of ductal carcinoma with lobular growth pattern

  • 3-dimensional modeling of TLC and tubular carcinoma (TC)

    • Both tumor types consist of glandular structures connected by slender cords of single cells

    • Glands of TLC are connected by longer strands of single cells

      • TC has short strands of single cells that are less apparent in 2-dimensional sections

    • May account for appearance of tubular and lobular growth patterns in histologic sections

    • Morphologic appearance of loss of cohesion in presence of cell adhesion molecules is unclear

      • Catenin expression is normal in most TLCs



  • Incidence

    • Rare; 1-2% of invasive breast carcinomas

  • Age

    • Similar to carcinomas of no special type; may be more common in older women

  • Gender

    • TLC has been reported in both males and females


  • Usually presents with palpable mass

    • Less commonly found as a mass on mammographic screening


  • Intermediate prognosis between pure TC and invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC)


General Features

  • Location

    • Multifocality is present in ˜ 30% of cases

      • Positive lymph nodes are found in ˜ 60% of multifocal cases and ˜ 30% of cases with single focus

  • Size

    • Palpable mass present in 85% of patients

      • Mean size: 1.7 cm

Mammographic Findings

  • Most typical mammographic finding is irregular mass

    • May also show asymmetric focal density or architectural distortion

Jul 6, 2016 | Posted by in PATHOLOGY & LABORATORY MEDICINE | Comments Off on Tubulolobular Carcinoma

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