Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Ultrastructural and immunohistochemical characteristics of lipid-rich carcinoma of the breast

  • 63 Accesses

  • 18 Citations


Five cases of lipid-rich carcinomas of the breast were investigated ultrastructurally and immunohistochemically for alpha-lactalbumin (ALA), lactoferrin (Lfr) and human milk fat globule membrane antigen (HMFG-2). Staining for ALA and Lfr showed intensive reaction on nearly all of the tumour cells whereas immunoreaction for HMFG-2 revealed positivity in single cells. All tumours were negative for steroid receptor content. Ultrastructurally the tumour cells showed numerous intracytoplasmic non-membrane bound lipid droplets which were often found within autophagocytic vacuoles. Neither rough endoplasmic reticulum nor Golgi complexes showed any sign of lipid synthesis. Extrusion of lipid droplets and extracellular lipid deposition was not observed. In conclusion, our findings do not justify the consideration of lipid-rich carcinoma of the breast as a clearly defined group of tumours with specific secretory activity. Therefore, the term lipid-rich carcinoma should be used in preference to lipid-secreting, unless there is evidence of active lipid secretion.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Aboumrad MH, Horn RC, Fine G (1963) Lipid secreting mammary carcinoma. Cancer 16:521–525

  2. Ancelin E, Delsol G, Familiades J, Mason DY, Kuhlein E, Al Saatri T, Laurent G, Huguet-Rigal F (1984) In situ immunologic characterization of follicular lymphomas. Hematol Oncol 2:221–237

  3. Bloom HTG, Richardson WW (1957) Histological grading and prognosis in breast cancer. A study of 1409 cases of which 359 have been followed for 15 years. Br J Cancer 4:347–367

  4. van Bogaert L-J, Maldague P (1977) Histological variants of lipid-secreting carcinoma of the breast. Virchows Arch A (Path Anat and Histol) 375:345–353

  5. Ramos CV, Taylor HB (1974) Lipid-rich carcinoma of the breast. A clinicopathologic analysis of 13 examples. Cancer 33:812–918

  6. Reiner G, Bieglmayer Ch, Jakez R, Kees A, Kolb R, Spona J (1981) Steroidrezeptoren im Mammakarzinom in Beziehung zum basalen Serumhormonspiegel bei postmenopausalen Patientinnen. Wien. Klin Wochenschr 93:339–342

  7. Sternberg LA (1979) The unlabeled antibody PAP method. In: Sternberger LA Immunohistochemistry, 2nd ed. J Wiley & Sons, New York, p 104

  8. Vera-Sempere F, Llombardt-Bosch A (1985) Lipid-rich versus lipid-secreting carcinoma of the mammary gland. Pathol Res Pract 180:553–556

  9. Walker RA (1984) Immunohistochemistry of biological markers of breast carcinoma. In: De Lellis RA (ed) Advances in immunohistochemistry, Vol 7:223–241. Masson Publishing USA Inc, New York

  10. Wrba F, Holzner JH (1985) Lipidreiches Karzinom der Mamma. Ein Fallbericht. Verh Dtsch Ges Path 69:484

  11. Wrba F, Reiner G, Reiner A, Ritzinger E, Spona J, Holzner JH (1988) Prognostic significance of immunohistochemical parameters in breast carcinomas. Pathol Res Pract (in press)

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Friedrich Wrba.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wrba, F., Ellinger, A., Reiner, G. et al. Ultrastructural and immunohistochemical characteristics of lipid-rich carcinoma of the breast. Vichows Archiv A Pathol Anat 413, 381–385 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00716986

Download citation

Key words

  • Lipid rich carcinoma
  • Breast
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ultrastructure