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E-Cadherin Reactivity of 95 Noninvasive Ductal and Lobular Lesions of the Breast
Implications for the Interpretation of Problematic Lesions

Neal S. Goldstein MD, Deepa Bassi MD, John C. Watts MD, Lester J. Layfield MD, Hadi Yaziji MD, Allen M. Gown MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/B0DD-4M7H-GJG1-7KCW 534-542 First published online: 1 April 2001


Studies suggest that E-cadherin is useful to classify epithelial breast lesions as ductal or lobular, but extensive experience with this antibody is lacking. We studied reactivity of lesions with classic and indeterminate morphologic features. We reviewed 95 lesions and divided them into unanimous and nonunanimous diagnosis groups; the unanimous group served as benchmark lesions to which E-cadherin reactivity could be standardized and compared. All 37 ductal lesions in the unanimous group had strong, diffuse E-cadherin reactivity. Two of 22 classic lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) lesions had sparse E-cadherin–reactive lobular cells within a few terminal duct lobular units. Neither displayed transition from nonreactive to reactive cells. Of 36 lesions in the nonunanimous group, 19 had insufficient morphologic features for definitive classification. Only 6 of 19 were E-cadherin reactive, including several minimally proliferative lesions. The other 17 lesions in the nonunanimous group had LCIS and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) features. All had no E-cadherin, or strong membrane reactivity of constituent cells in varying proportions, without a transition between reactive and nonreactive cells. Results suggest that the majority of morphologically nondiagnostic atypical lesions are lobular, including those associated with DCIS. E-cadherin seems to be absent in most lobular lesions.

Key Words:
  • Breast
  • E-cadherin
  • Carcinoma
  • In situ
  • Ductal
  • Lobular
  • Hyperplasia