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Genetic relation of lobular carcinoma in situ, ductal carcinoma in situ, and associated invasive carcinoma of the breast
  1. H Buerger1,
  2. R Simon1,
  3. K-L Schäfer1,
  4. R Diallo1,
  5. R Littmann1,
  6. C Poremba1,
  7. P J van Diest2,
  8. B Dockhorn-Dworniczak1,
  9. W Böcker1
  1. 1Gerhard-Domagk- Institute of Pathology, University of Münster, Domagkstr. 17, 48149 Münster, Germany
  2. 2Institute of Pathology, Free University of Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Professor Böcker email: boeckew{at}


Aims—The mutual relation of lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast, as accepted precursor lesions of invasive breast cancer, is controversial. Because they display genetic heterogeneity, it is not clear how genetically advanced these entities are and what causes the transition to an invasive carcinoma.

Methods—Six cases of LCIS, four of them with associated lobular invasive carcinoma, four cases of intermediately differentiated DCIS with an associated invasive lobular carcinoma, and nine cases of intermediately and poorly differentiated DCIS with associated ductal invasive carcinoma were investigated by means of comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) after microdissection and immunohistochemical staining of E-cadherin.

Results—LCIS was characterised by a low average rate of copy number changes, no evidence of amplifications, and a high rate of gains and losses of chromosomal material at 1q and 16q, respectively. A high degree of genetic homology with well differentiated DCIS was obvious, as reported previously. The cases of intermediately differentiated DCIS with associated lobular invasive components and lobular differentiation revealed striking homologies, and a significant difference of E-cadherin expression. The comparison of preinvasive and invasive breast lesions, irrespective of differentiation within the same patient, revealed no specific alteration that might be associated with invasion. Genetic alterations seen in invasive carcinoma were not necessarily seen in the adjacent precursor lesions.

Conclusions—These results provide strong evidence that invasive breast cancer is a disease with multiple cytogenetic subclones already present in preinvasive lesions. Moreover, specific CGH alterations associated with invasion were not observed. Furthermore, the close genetic association between well differentiated and a subgroup of intermediately differentiated DCIS and LCIS led to the hypothesis that LCIS and a subgroup of DCIS are different phenotypic forms of a common genotype.

  • lobular carcinoma in situ
  • ductal carcinoma in situ
  • invasion

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