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Jpn J Cancer Res. 1998 Dec;89(12):1358-73.

A proposal for a new histological classification scheme for predicting short-term tumor recurrence and death in patients with invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast.

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Pathology Division, National Cancer Center Hospital East, Chiba.


Tumor recurrence rate (TRR) and mortality rate (MR) of invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) of the breast in short-term follow-up are relatively low. Nevertheless, it is extremely important to identify patients at risk of early recurrence or death after surgery. The aim of this study was to establish a new histological prognostic classification scheme for IDC in order accurately to predict the short-term outcome. The following histological parameters were analyzed in 201 IDCs: 1) tumor size, 2) structural atypia, 3) nuclear atypia, 4) number of mitotic figures, 5) fibrotic focus (FF), 6) vascular invasion, 7) tumor necrosis, 8) skin invasion, 9) muscle invasion, 10) nodal status and 11) extramammary fat invasion. Multivariate analysis showed that nuclear atypia, presence of FF, and the invasive length of fat invasion (ILFI) were the most important histological parameters correlated with TRR or MR of IDCs. Accordingly, a new histological classification based on nuclear atypia, FF and ILFI (Nucleus-Fibrotic focus-Fat invasion, NFF) was devised. Comparative studies were performed with the following existing prognostic classifications: 1) histological grade, 2) modified Scarff-Bloom-Richardson histological grade, 3) prognostic index and 4) pathological TNM (pTNM) stage classifications. Patient grouping defined by NFF classification significantly correlated with tumor recurrence or death of IDCs in all cases, cases at stages I and II, those without lymph node metastasis and those who were estrogen receptor (ER)-positive after adjustment for the other four classifications, using multivariate analysis. NFF classification appeared superior to existing prognostic classifications for the accurate prediction of the short-term outcome for patients with IDCs in low risk groups.

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