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Am J Clin Pathol. 2011 Jul;136(1):88-97. doi: 10.1309/AJCP7URIW0QETTAT.

Classical-type invasive lobular carcinoma with HER2 overexpression: clinical, histologic, and hormone receptor characteristics.

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Department of Pathology, Magee-Womens Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


The majority of invasive lobular carcinomas (ILCs) express estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) but lack ERBB2 (HER2) amplification. HER2 overexpression is traditionally considered to occur in the pleomorphic variant of ILCs. We describe 12 cases of classical-type ILCs with HER2 overexpression in a 3-year period. All tumors displayed the characteristic morphologic features of classical ILC with uniform cells and discohesive growth patterns. The lobular phenotype was confirmed by the absence of E-cadherin staining. Multiple variables regarding clinical, histologic, and hormone receptor characteristics of tumors were evaluated and compared with a set of HER2- classical ILCs. The study identified 2 main pathologic features associated with HER2 overexpression in classical type ILC: histiocytoid morphologic features and absence of PR expression. ER is still expressed in HER2+ classical ILCs, although the level of expression is significantly reduced compared with the HER2- cases. The implications of the findings are discussed.

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