Clinicopathologic analysis of microscopically invasive breast carcinoma

Rafael E. Jimenez, Daniel W. Visscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Breast biopsy or mastectomy cases having diagnoses of carcinoma in situ with 'microinvasion,' 'minimal invasion,' 'focal invasion,' or 'suggestive of invasion' were reviewed and all histologically identified loci of invasive disease from each case were measured using an ocular micrometer. Cases in which any single focus of invasion was greater than 5 mm or the added size of separate invasive loci exceeded 10 mm were excluded, resulting in a study group of 75 patients. Invasive neoplasm was present in the initial biopsy in 69 of 75 cases (92%); however, residual invasive neoplasm was found in the subsequent lumpectomy/mastectomy from 14 of these (20%). In 59% of cases, two or more histologically separate foci of invasion were identified. Invasive loci consisted of isolated cells or cell clusters, each less than 1 mm (microfocal invasion), in 33% of cases. In 12 cases, the sum of individual invasive foci was 5 to 10 mm. Axillary lymph nodes (LN) from 5 of 69 patients (7%)contained metastatic carcinoma (four cases, one LN positive; one case, two LN positive). The cumulative sizes of all invasive foci in the LN- positive group were microfocal invasion (one case), 0.6 nun (one case), 1.1 mm, 2.5 mm, and 5.8 mm. The difference in frequency of axillary node metastasis between tumors with microfocal and measurable inversion (4.3% v 8.6%) was not statistically significant. Follow-up data were available on 55 cases (mean interval, 66.1 months). One (node-negative) patient had duct carcinoma in situ recurrence in the same breast 4 years after initial treatment. Another (with unknown node status) developed an axillary lymph node metastasis 13 months after initial treatment (96% disease-free survival). We conclude that microscopic stromal invasion in breast carcinoma, at least in the setting of significant in situ component, is often initiated from multiple foci. Patients with microscopically invasive breast carcinoma have a small but significant risk of axillary metastases, although a highly favorable survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1412-1419
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1998


  • Axillary lymph node dissection
  • Breast carcinoma
  • Microinvasive carcinoma
  • Microscopically invasive carcinoma
  • Multifocal invasion
  • T1a stage carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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