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J Cancer. 2012;3:328-32. doi: 10.7150/jca.4735. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

Infiltrating lobular carcinoma of the breast presenting as gastrointestinal obstruction: a mini review.

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  • 11. Section of General Surgery, Department of Surgical, Anaesthesiological and Radiological Sciences, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria, Arcispedale Sant'Anna, Ferrara, Italy.


One in twelve American women will develop breast cancer, with infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC) comprising approximately 15% of these cases. The incidence of ILC has been increasing over the last several decades. It has been hypothesized that this increase is associated with combined replacement hormonal therapy. Although pathologically distinct from infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC), ILC is treated in the same manner as IDC. However, ILC demonstrates significantly different patterns of late local recurrence and distant metastasis. The incidence of extra-hepatic gastrointestinal metastases is reported to be 6% to 18%, with stomach being most common. Herein, we present a brief review of the literature and a typical case involving ILC initially presenting as a small bowel obstruction. Evidence suggests that the late clinical patterns of ILC are distinctly separate from IDC and physicians need be cognizant of its late local recurrence and unique late metastatic pattern. Different follow up strategy should be entertained in patients with ILC.


breast cancer; infiltrating lobular carcinoma

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