Invasive lobular carcinoma with extracellular mucin production and HER-2 overexpression: a case report and further case studies
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Diagnostic Pathology 2010, 5:36 doi:10.1186/1746-1596-5-36Published: 15 June 2010
Invasive lobular carcinomas (ILC) of breast typically demonstrate intracytoplasmic mucin. We present a unique case of classical type ILC with abundant extracellular mucin and strong ERBB2 (HER2/neu) expression confirmed by immunohistochemistry and fluorescent in situ hybridization. Dual E-cadherin/p120 immunohistochemical stain demonstrated complete loss of membranous E-cadherin and the presence of diffuse cytoplasmic p120 staining, confirming the lobular phenotype. The tumor cells showed ductal-like cytoplasmic MUC1 staining, but were negative for MUC2 and other mucin gene markers. In addition, studies of tissue microarrays of 80 breast carcinomas with mucinous differentiation revealed 4 pure mucinous carcinomas showing significantly reduced E-cadherin staining without redistribution of p120 into cytoplasm. The findings suggest that the presence of extracellular mucin does not exclude a diagnosis of lobular carcinoma, and the morphologic and molecular characteristics of lobular and ductal carcinomas are more complex than previously appreciated.