Treatment of Invasive Lobular Carcinoma
The literature suggests that invasive lobular cancer can be treated in a manner identical to invasive ductal cancer, with the same results. Some representative studies:

Ann Surg Oncol 1997 Dec;4(8):650-4

Role of conservation therapy for invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast.

Bouvet M,

Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) accounts for 5% to 10% of all invasive breast cancers. All patients underwent surgical resection and postoperative radiation therapy.  The 5-year actuarial locoregional recurrence rate was 9.8%, and the median time to recurrence was 77 months (range 41 to 113 months).The 5-year disease-specific survival rate was 93.7%. CONCLUSIONS: Breast conservation therapy for ILC achieves locoregional control in the majority of patients.

Ann Surg Oncol 1997 Oct-Nov;4(7):545-50

Optimal surgical treatment of invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast.

Chung MA

Women with infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC) and invasive lobular breast carcinoma (ILC) diagnosed during the years 1984 to 1994 were identified through a statewide tumor registry. During the period 1984 to 1994, 4886 women were diagnosed with invasive lobular or ductal breast carcinoma. Of these, 316 (6.5%) had infiltrating lobular cancer. The 5-year survival rates were 68% and 71% for ILC and IDC, respectively. The local recurrence rates were 2.8% and 4.3% for ILC treated with lumpectomy and axillary nodal dissection (LAND) and modified radical mastectomy (MRM), respectively, which were not significantly different from that obtained with IDC (LAND = 2.5%, MRM = 2.1%). The incidence of contralateral breast cancer during the period was 6.6% and 6.5% for ILC and IDC, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Invasive lobular carcinoma can be safely treated with breast conservation with no difference in local recurrence or survival. In the absence of a suspicious finding on clinical or radiologic examination, routine contralateral breast intervention is not recommended.

Conservative surgery and radiation therapy for invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast.

Francis M,.Aust N Z J Surg. 1999 Jun;69(6):450-4.

There is debate as to whether infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC) can be effectively treated with breast conservative surgery (CS) and radiotherapy (RT) because of a perceived high risk of local recurrence. This retrospective study examined the outcome of patients with ILC treated by CS and RT. Between November 1979 and December 1994, 57 women with UICC Stage I or II ILC were treated by CS and RT at Westmead Hospital, New South Wales, Australia. After a median follow up of 69 months (range 36-162) three patients (5.3%) developed a local recurrence. One of 43 patients (2.3%) with known clear margins developed a local recurrence compared with two of 14 patients (14.3%) with positive or indeterminate margins (P = NS). The 5- and 10-year rates of freedom from local recurrence were 96 and 93%, respectively. The 5-year disease-free survival was 85% (node-negative, 92%; node-positive, 66%). Overall survival was 94% at 5 years. No patient developed a contralateral breast cancer. CONCLUSION: Patients with ILC can be effectively treated with CS and RT.

Cancer 1989 Apr 15;63(8):1630-5

Conservation therapy for breast cancers other than infiltrating ductal carcinoma.

Kurtz JM,

For 67 patients with predominantly lobular carcinomas, the actuarial overall 5-year survival was 100% and 77% for node-negative and node-positive patients, respectively. The actuarial probability of recurrence in the treated breast (13.5% at 5 years) appeared to be somewhat greater than that observed after treatment of invasive ductal cancers (8.8%). The authors conclude that, in addition to its well-established efficacy in the treatment of infiltrating ductal carcinomas, the combination of tumor excision and radiotherapy appears to provide adequate local control for other histologic types as well. However, patients with lobular cancer appear to be at somewhat greater risk of mammary failure, and recurrences in such patients tend to be multifocal and multicentric.

Br J Surg. 1995 Oct;82(10):1364-6.

Lobular carcinoma of the breast can be managed by breast-conserving therapy.

Holland PA,

This study is a retrospective review of 226 patients with pure invasive lobular carcinoma 4 cm or less treated by breast conservation therapy or mastectomy. Local relapse occurred in four of 52 patients (8 per cent) after breast conservation compared with 21 of 174 (12 per cent) after mastectomy. Breast conservation for invasive lobular carcinoma did not result in a higher incidence of local relapse and patients with invasive lobular and ductal carcinomas may be managed in a similar fashion.

Is invasive lobular carcinoma different from invasive ductal carcinoma?

Mersin H,  Eur J Surg Oncol. 2003 May;29(4):390-5.

The purpose of this study is to determine whether the histopathologic features and outcome in invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) and invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) are different, and whether the histologic type is a prognostic factor for outcome. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted in consecutive 510 stage I/II breast carcinoma patients who underwent modified radical mastectomy. The features of 65 patients with ILC were compared with those of 445 patients with IDC.The median ages in patients with ILC and those with IDC were 52 and 41 (P=0.04). Tumor size, estrogen receptor positive expression and nodal positivity were not significantly different between the histologic types. Patients with ILC had more frequently (81.5%) low grade tumors and less lymphatic vascular invasion (9.3%) in primary tumor than those with IDC (P<0.05). Whereas the rates of 5-year overall survival were 94% in ILC and 90% in IDC, the rates of 5-year event-free survival were 71 and 67%, respectively (P=NS). Multivariate analyses in all patients demonstrated that tumor size, pathologic lymph node status and age at diagnosis were the most important prognostic factors for overall and event-free survival. Histologic type was not statistically significant for both outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Although patients with ILC had older age, low grade tumor and less lymphatic vascular invasion, they had no survival advantage comparing with their counterparts. Histologic type was not an independent prognostic factor for outcome.

The influence of infiltrating lobular carcinoma on the outcome of patients treated with breast-conserving surgery and radiation therapy.

Peiro G,  Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2000 Jan;59(1):49-54.

The role of conservative surgery and radiation therapy (CS and RT) in the treatment of patients with infiltrating ductal carcinoma is well established. However, the efficacy of CS and RT for patients with infiltrating lobular carcinoma is less well documented. The goal of this study was to examine treatment outcome after CS and RT for patients with infiltrating lobular carcinoma and to compare the results to those of patients with infiltrating ductal carcinoma and patients with mixed ductal-lobular histology. METHODS: Between 1970 and 1986, 1624 patients with Stage I or II invasive breast cancer were treated with CS and RT consisting of a complete gross excision of the tumor and > or = 6000 cGy to the primary site. Slides were available for review for 1337 of these patients (82%). Of these, 93 had infiltrating lobular carcinoma, 1089 had infiltrating ductal carcinoma, and 59 had tumors with mixed ductal and lobular features; these patients constitute the study population. The median follow-up time for surviving patients was 133 months. A comprehensive list of clinical and pathologic features was evaluated for all patients. Additional histologic features assessed for patients with infiltrating lobular carcinoma included histologic subtype, multifocal invasion, stromal desmoplasia, and the presence of signet ring cells. RESULTS: Five and 10-year crude results by site of first failure were similar for patients with infiltrating lobular, infiltrating ductal, and mixed histology. In particular, the 10-year crude local recurrence rates were 15%, 13%, and 13% for patients with infiltrating lobular, infiltrating ductal, and mixed histology, respectively. Ten-year distant/regional recurrence rates were 22%, 23%, and 20% for the three groups, respectively. In addition, the 10-year crude contralateral breast cancer rates were 4%, 13% and 6% for patients with infiltrating lobular, infiltrating ductal and mixed histology, respectively. In a multiple regression analysis which included established prognostic factors, histologic type was not significantly associated with either survival or time to recurrence. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with infiltrating lobular carcinoma have a similar outcome following CS and RT to patients with infiltrating ductal carcinoma and to patients with tumors that have mixed ductal and lobular features. We conclude that the presence of infiltrating lobular histology should not influence decisions regarding local therapy in patients with Stage I and II breast cancer.

Cancer 1992 Jun 1;69(11):2789-95

Conservation therapy for invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast.

Poen JC

The 5-year actuarial risk of locoregional recurrence was 5%, with two of three failures occurring in the regional lymphatics. The mean time to locoregional failure was 28 months. The 5-year actuarial disease-free survival (84%) and overall survival (91%) were comparable to those seen in several large series of similarly treated patients with invasive ductal carcinoma. Contralateral breast cancer occurred at a rate of approximately 0.6% per year.

Br J Surg 1997 Jan;84(1):106-9

Conservative surgery for infiltrating lobular breast carcinoma.


RESULTS: No difference in cumulative local recurrence rate was found between the two groups at 10 years (approximately 7 per cent). CONCLUSION: Conservative surgery is equally safe for patients with infiltrating lobular or ductal carcinoma of the breast.

Infiltrating lobular carcinoma of the breast. Clinicopathologic analysis of 975 cases with reference to data on conservative therapy and metastatic patterns.

Sastre-Garau X,   Cancer. 1996 Jan 1;77(1):113-20.

The clinicopathologic features of infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC), which represents 5% to 15% of all breast cancers, are still controversial. In particular, the high frequency of multicentric lesions has led to questioning of the effectiveness of conservative treatment for this type of cancer. By studying a large number of cases, we aimed to compare the clinicopathological features of ILC with those of nonlobular infiltrating carcinoma (NLIC) and to assess the advisability of conservative therapy in the management of ILC. METHODS. The population analyzed included 726 cases of ILC, 249 cases of mixed ILC/invasive ductal carcinoma (ILC/IDC), and 10,061 cases of NLIC. The age of patients, TNM status, estrogen- and progesterone-receptor status (ER, PR), and histologic grades of the 3 groups were compared. The follow-up was carried out on a subgroup of 5846 cases. RESULTS. At diagnosis, ILC tumors were found to be larger on average and were detected in patients older than those with NLIC, but the degree of lymph node involvement was lower in patients with ILC than in NLIC. In ILC, tumors are more frequently grade I and ER-positive than in NLIC. Multicentric lesions were not significantly more frequent in ILC than in NLIC. The overall survival, locoregional control, disease free interval, and metastatic spread rates were not different among the three groups neither by univariate nor multivariate analysis, but the pattern of metastatic dissemination was different. In 480 cases of ILC considered for conservation therapy, the local recurrence and overall survival rates were similar to those observed for IDC. CONCLUSIONS. Our analysis specifies the clinicopathological features of ILC and confirms that conservation therapy may be an appropriate treatment for this type of cancer.

Cancer 1989 Jul 15;64(2):448-54

Influence of infiltrating lobular histology on local tumor control in breast cancer patients treated with conservative surgery and radiotherapy.

Schnitt SJ

The 5-year actuarial risk of local recurrence was similar for patients with infiltrating lobular or ductal carcinoma when the latter was evaluated as a single group (12% versus 11%). However, the 12% 5-year actuarial local recurrence risk for patients with infiltrating lobular carcinoma was intermediate between that for patients with infiltrating ductal carcinomas with an extensive intraductal component (23%) and those without an extensive intraductal component (5%).

Does routine grading of invasive lobular cancer of the breast have the same prognostic significance as for ductal cancers?

Sinha PS,   Eur J Surg Oncol. 2000 Dec;26(8):733-7.

The routine tumour grading of invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast has been shown to be a robust determinant of outcome but pathologists have been reluctant to grade lobular cancers. The aim of this study was to determine the prognostic significance of the routine reporting of lobular grade. METHODS: All patients with invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) treated between 1981 and 1996 were reviewed. Patients with ILC which had been graded were included in the study. These cases were matched with two control patients with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) who were operated on in the same year and were closest to the patients in age. Recurrence-free survival was compared with grade for ILC cases and IDC controls using life-table analysis. Similar comparisons were made with the Nottingham Prognostic Index (NPI) between the different prognostic groups. RESULTS: Of 139 cases with ILC, 33 were excluded from the study because 24 were ungraded, five had advanced disease and four had mixed tumours. The mean length of follow-up for ILC cases was 75 months vs 70 months for IDC controls. Recurrence rates for grade I were 10% ILC vs 24% IDC, for grade II 32%vs 32% and for grade III 33%vs 49%. The reported grades for ILC and IDC both showed the expected trend for an increased recurrence rate with more severe tumour grade, but this was only significant for IDC grade II vs grade III (P<0.02) on life-table analysis; only 6% of lobular cancers were reported as grade III. However, there was significant separation of the survival curves when NPI was compared for both lobular and ductal cancers. CONCLUSION: The routine reporting of tumour grade for ILC did not show significant difference in outcome between grade I and grade II, and very few tumours were rated grade III. The validity of grading lobular cancer of the breast requires further evaluation.

Invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast has better short- and long-term survival than invasive ductal carcinoma.

Toikkanen S, Br J Cancer. 1997;76(9):1234-40.

The outcome and prognostic factors of 217 women with invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) and those of 1121 women with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) of the breast were compared. The patients were followed up for 10-43 years. Women with ILC had axillary nodal metastases less frequently than those with IDC (43% vs 53%, P = 0.02), although there was no difference in the primary tumour size between the groups. ILCs were more frequently of low grade, had lower mitotic counts and had less tumour necrosis. Furthermore, ILCs had lower S-phase fractions and were more often DNA diploid in flow cytometric analysis than IDCs (P < 0.0001 for all comparisons). The 5- and 30-year corrected survival rates of women with ILC were 78% and 50%, respectively, compared with 63% and 37% for women with IDC (P = 0.001). Small pT1NOMO ILCs (n = 41) had 100% 10-year and 83% 20-year corrected survival rates. In a multivariate analysis, a large primary tumour size, the presence of axillary nodal metastases, a high mitotic count and the presence of tumour necrosis all had an independent prognostic value in ILC. We conclude that ILC is associated with better survival than IDC.

Am J Surg 1996 Nov;172(5):496-500

Lumpectomy and radiation treatment for invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast.

Warneke J

Thirty-four patients (37%) were treated with lumpectomy and adjuvant postoperative radiotherapy with one (3%) local recurrence and a mean overall survival of 83.6 months. Fifty-nine patients (63%) were treated by modified radical mastectomy with two local recurrences (3%) and a mean overall survival of 71.7 months.

J Am Coll Surg 1998 Apr;186(4):416-22

A comparative analysis of lobular and ductal carcinoma of the breast: presentation, treatment, and outcomes.

Winchester DJ

The mean patient age at diagnosis was 61.0 years for invasive ductal carcinoma, 63.0 years for invasive lobular carcinoma, and 60.6 years for tumors with combined histology. The anatomic location, tumor diameter, and tumor grade were similar for each histotype. Breast-preservation therapy was less frequent for invasive lobular carcinoma. The 5-year overall survival and local disease-free survival rates for women treated with breast preservation were similar for invasive ductal carcinoma (84% overall survival; 97% disease-free survival) and invasive lobular carcinoma (87% overall survival; 98% disease-free survival).

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1998 Jan 15;40(2):353-8

Lobular carcinoma in situ as a component of breast cancer: the long-term outcome in patients treated with breast-conservation therapy.

Moran M

The pathology reports of all patients treated with conservative surgery and radiation therapy at our institution prior to 1992 were reviewed to identify patients who had LCIS as a histologic component. A total of 51 patients were identified. Primary histology of the 51 patients was as follows: 53% infiltrating lobular, 20% invasive and intraductal, 18% invasive ductal, 10% intraductal.  There were no significant differences in age of presentation, clinical stage, nodal status, estrogen receptor status, or adjuvant therapy received between the two groups. The primary histology of the two populations differed significantly with a larger percentage of infiltrating lobular primaries in the LCIS group (53 vs. 5%, p < 0.001). The LCIS group also differed from the control group with respect to the percentage of patients with bilateral disease (17 vs. 8%, p = 0.05), and the percentage of patients with "false negative" mammograms (20 vs. 10%, p = 0.02). There was no statistically significant difference between the LCIS group and control group in the 10-year overall survival (67 vs. 72%), distant disease-free survival (62 vs. 79%), or ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence-free survival (77% LCIS vs. 84% control). the comparable local control rates between conservatively treated patients with or without LCIS suggests that patients with a histologic component of LCIS are suitable candidates for conservative surgery and radiation therapy.