Breast Cancer


Breast cancer remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and despite intensive research effort consensus agreement on management has proved difficult. This is partly a consequence of the complexity of breast cancer and the fact that this term encompasses neoplastic alterations in the breast with very differing biological backgrounds. Understanding the molecular basis of malignant progression will allow more rational treatment for the future.

Keywords: breast cancer; cellular and molecular biology; diagnosis; treatment; cancer; breast; mammary; tumour; carcinoma

Figure 1.

A grade 1 invasive ductal carcinoma predominantly composed of tubules.

Figure 2.

Lobular carcinoma in situ (top left of field) with invasive lobular carcinoma cells. Note the dispersed pattern of invasion and cells arranged in ‘indian files’ (arrow).

Figure 3.

High grade DCIS expressing c‐erbB2 with membrane immunoreactivity.



American Cancer Society (1999) Cancer Facts and Figures – 1999. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society.

Bodian CA, Perzin KH and Lattes R (1996) Lobular neoplasia: long term risk of breast cancer and relation to other factors. Cancer 78(5): 1024–1034.

Elston CW and Ellis IO (1991) Pathological prognostic factors in breast cancer 1. The value of histological grade in breast cancer: experience from a large study with long term follow‐up. Histopathology 19: 430–410.

Fantl V, Stamp GWH, Andrews A, Rosewell I and Dickson C (1995) Mice lacking cyclin D1 are small and show defects in eye and mammary gland development. Genes and Development 9: 2364–2372.

Gowen LC, Avrutskaya AV, Latour AM et al. (1998) BRCA1 required for transcription‐coupled repair of oxidative DNA damage. Science 281(5379): 1009–1012.

Newman B, Mu H, Butler LM et al. (1998) Frequency of breast cancer attributable to BRCA1 in a population‐based series of American women. Journal of the American Medical Association 279(12): 915–921.

Rosen PP, Lesser ML, Arroyo CD et al. (1995) P53 in node‐negative breast carcinoma. An immunohistochemical study of epidemiologic risk factors, histologic features and prognosis. Journal of Clinical Oncology 13: 821–830.

Sidransky D, Tokino T, Helzsouer K et al. (1992) Inherited p53 gene mutations in breast cancer. Cancer Research 52: 2984–2986.

Silverstein MJ, Poller DN, Waisman JR et al. (1995) Prognostic classification of breast ductal carcinoma‐in‐situ. Lancet 345: 1154–1157.

Further Reading

Dixon JM and Sainsbury JRC (1998) Handbook of Diseases of the Breast, 2nd edn. Edinburgh, UK: Churchill Livingstone.

Lalani E‐N and Stamp GWH (1996) Role of the stroma in neoplastic growth and progression. In: Kirkham N and Lemoine N (eds) Progress in Pathology 3. Edinburgh, UK: Churchill Livingstone.

Rosen PR (1997) Rosen's Breast Pathology. Philadelphia: Lippincott‐Raven.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Stamp, Gordon(Apr 2001) Breast Cancer. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001473]