Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The invasive lobular carcinoma as a prototype luminal A breast cancer: A retrospective cohort study

So-Youn Jung, Junsoo Jeong, Seung-Ho Shin, Youngmee Kwon, Eun-A Kim, Kyoung Lan Ko, Kyung Hwan Shin, Keun Seok Lee, In Hae Park, Seeyoun Lee, Seok Won Kim, Han-Sung Kang and Jungsil Ro*

Author Affiliations

Center for Breast Cancer, National Cancer Center, Goyang-si, Korea

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:664  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-664

Published: 3 December 2010



Although the invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) is the second most frequent histologic subtype in Western countries, its incidence is much lower in Asia, and its characteristics are less well known.


We assessed the clinical characteristics and outcomes of 83 Korean patients (2.8%) with ILC for comparison with 2,833 (97.2%) with the invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), including 1,088 (37.3%) with the luminal A subtype (LA-IDC).


The mean age of all patients was 48.2 years, with no significant differences among the groups. Compared to IDC, ILC showed a larger tumor size (≥T2, 59.8% vs. 38.8%, P = 0.001), a lower histologic grade (HG 1/2, 90.4% vs. 64.4%, P < 0.001), more frequent estrogen receptor positive (90.4% vs. 64.4%, P < 0.001), progesterone receptor positive (71.1% vs. 50.1%, P < 0.001) and HER2 negative (97.5% vs. 74.6%, P < 0.001) status, and lower Ki-67 expression (10.3% ± 10.6% vs. 20.6% ± 19.8%, P < 0.001), as well as being more likely to be of the luminal A subtype (91.4% vs. 51.2%, P < 0.001). Six (7.2%) ILC and 359 (12.7%) IDC patients developed disease recurrence, with a median follow-up of 56.4 (range 4.9-136.6) months. The outcome of ILC was close to LA-IDC (HR 0.77 for recurrence, 95% CI 0.31-1.90, P = 0.57; HR 0.75 for death, 95% CI 0.18-3.09, P = 0.70) and significantly better than for the non-LA-IDC (HR 1.69 for recurrence, 95% CI 1.23-2.33, P = 0.001; HR 1.50 for death, 95% CI 0.97-2.33, P = 0.07).


ILC, a rare histologic type of breast cancer in Korea, has distinctive clinicopathological characteristics similar to those of LA-IDC.