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Steroids. 2013 Jun;78(6):568-75. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2012.11.002. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast: patient response to systemic endocrine therapy and hormone response in model systems.

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Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh, United States.


Invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast (ILC) represents 10-15% of all newly diagnosed breast cancers, affecting ∼30,000 women annually in the United States. However, ILC is critically understudied as a breast cancer subtype. Though the vast majority of ILC are estrogen receptor-positive and present with overall favorable biomarkers, ILC patients do not benefit from improved outcomes versus other breast cancer patients. Patient outcomes, in particular in response to endocrine therapies, are not well understood in ILC, due in large part to the lack of prospective identification in large clinical trials. Further, there is a lack of laboratory models to study cell signaling, hormone response, and endocrine resistance in ILC. In this review, we provide an overview of clinicopathological features of ILC tumors, discuss issues with clinical management, and highlight the disconnect between ILC biomarkers and patient outcomes. We review currently available data on ILC patient outcomes, with a focus on response to endocrine therapy. Additionally, we describe currently available laboratory models for understanding hormone response in ILC cells, and review current data on these model systems. The promise for new insight into ILC, based on extensive representation of the disease in recent large scale genomic studies, is also discussed. Increasing understanding of endocrine response in ILC represents a critical area for future research to improve patient outcomes for this understudied breast cancer subtype.

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