Tubular Carcinoma of the Breast: An Institutional Experience and Review of the Literature


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Juan C. Paramo, MD, 4300 Alton Rd., Miami Beach, FL 33140, USA, or email: jparamo@msmc.com.


Abstract: Tubular carcinoma of the breast is a variant of invasive ductal carcinoma that is well differentiated and characterized by an orderly tubular formation. Although often perceived to have a better prognosis, there continues to be questions regarding the extent of treatment required. A retrospective review of 44 patients diagnosed with tubular carcinoma of the breast from 1987 to 1999 was performed. All documented data regarding patient and tumor characteristics plus the extent of treatment were analyzed and compared. Lymph node metastases were present in 4 of 32 patients (13%) who had nodes examined. Tumor size correlated with axillary status, with tumors less than 15 mm having no axillary nodal involvement. No other factor influenced nodal status. In breast conservation patients without adjuvant radiation, 5% (1 of 20) had local recurrence versus 0% (0 of 13) of patients who received postoperative radiation. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) was associated with 52% of tubular cancers. Second breast cancers developed in 16% of cases. There was no difference in presentation or outcome for pure versus mixed tubular carcinoma. Overall mortality was 2%. Overall survival for patients with tubular carcinoma is quite good. Breast conservation treatment results in low rates of local recurrence for tubular carcinoma with or without the use of adjuvant radiation therapy. Pure tubular carcinomas had the same behavior and overall prognosis as mixed tubular carcinomas and should be classified together. Lymph node status did not influence disease-free or overall survival.