Infiltrative pattern of metastatic invasive lobular breast carcinoma in the abdomen: a pictorial review

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Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) has a greater tendency to metastasize to the peritoneum, retroperitoneum, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract as compared to invasive carcinoma of no special type (NST). Like primary ILC in the breast, ILC metastases are frequently infiltrative and hypometabolic, rather than mass forming and hypermetabolic in nature. This renders them difficult to detect on conventional and metabolic imaging studies. As a result, intra-abdominal ILC metastases are often detected late, with patients presenting with clinical complications such as liver failure, hydronephrosis, or bowel obstruction. In patients with known history of ILC, certain imaging features are very suggestive of infiltrative metastatic ILC. These include retroperitoneal or peritoneal nodularity and linitis plastica appearance of the bowel. Recognition of linitis plastica on imaging should prompt deep or repeat biopsies. In this pictorial review, the authors aim to familiarize readers with imaging features and pitfalls for evaluation of intra-abdominal metastatic ILC. Awareness of these will allow the radiologist to assess these patients with a high index of suspicion and aid detection of metastatic disease. Also, this can direct histopathology and immunohistochemical staining to obtain the correct diagnosis in suspected metastatic disease.




Wong, Y. M., Jagmohan, P., Goh, Y. G., Putti, T. C., Ow, S. G. W., Thian, Y. L., & Pillay, P. (2021, December 1). Infiltrative pattern of metastatic invasive lobular breast carcinoma in the abdomen: a pictorial review. Insights into Imaging. Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH.

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