A new vision of tubular and tubulo-lobular carcinomas of the breast, as revealed by 3-D modelling

C. Marchiò, A. Sapino, R. Arisio, G. Bussolati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To reveal architectural structure and growth patterns of tubular carcinomas (TC) and tubulo-lobular carcinomas (TLC) of the breast. Methods and results: We studied a series of 20 pure TC and 22 TLC, evaluating the architectural features of the two entities by bi-dimensional microscopy and by 3-D modelling. We traced the spatial organization of three TCs and three TLCs on serial sections using AE1/AE3 cytokeratin as a marker of the epithelial structures and reconstructed 3-D models of each histological type. The analysis of TC on serial cytokeratin-stained sections showed that the form of the 'tubules' was related to the plane of sectioning and that often they were tear-drop shaped, with a final tail of single cells connecting them together. 3-D models corresponded to a necklace appearance and the tubules of TC appeared as blebs bridging through solid cords to other blebs. In TLC the structure was similar, but the connecting single-cell files were usually longer. Both TC and TLC showed similar E-cadherin positivity and an indolent clinical behaviour. Conclusions: TC and TLC share the same architectural and growth patterns and ultimately seem to represent variants of the same tumour type.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-562
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


  • Architecture
  • Breast carcinoma
  • Reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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