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Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)

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Histopathologic Classification of Breast Cancer

Table 1 describes the histologic classification of breast cancer based on tumor location.[1] Infiltrating or invasive ductal cancer is the most common breast cancer histologic type and comprises 70% to 80% of all cases.

Table 1. Tumor Location and Related Histologic Subtype
Tumor Location Histologic Subtype
NOS = not otherwise specified.
Carcinoma, NOS  
Ductal Intraductal (in situ)
Invasive with predominant component
Invasive, NOS
Medullary with lymphocytic infiltrate
Mucinous (colloid)
Lobular Invasive with predominant in situ component
Invasive [2]
Nipple Paget disease, NOS
Paget disease with intraductal carcinoma
Paget disease with invasive ductal carcinoma
Other Undifferentiated carcinoma

The following tumor subtypes occur in the breast but are not considered typical breast cancers:

  • Phyllodes tumor.[3,4]
  • Angiosarcoma.
  • Primary lymphoma.


  1. Breast. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 347-76.
  2. Yeatman TJ, Cantor AB, Smith TJ, et al.: Tumor biology of infiltrating lobular carcinoma. Implications for management. Ann Surg 222 (4): 549-59; discussion 559-61, 1995. [PUBMED Abstract]
  3. Chaney AW, Pollack A, McNeese MD, et al.: Primary treatment of cystosarcoma phyllodes of the breast. Cancer 89 (7): 1502-11, 2000. [PUBMED Abstract]
  4. Carter BA, Page DL: Phyllodes tumor of the breast: local recurrence versus metastatic capacity. Hum Pathol 35 (9): 1051-2, 2004. [PUBMED Abstract]
  • Updated: April 8, 2015