Abdominal Radiology

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 362–369 | Cite as

Lobular breast cancer: patterns of intraabdominal metastatic spread on imaging and prognostic significance

  • Pamela J. DiPiroEmail author
  • Sree Harsha Tirumani
  • Gisele P. Cruz
  • Nikhil H. Ramaiya
  • Susan C. Lester
  • Atul B. Shinagare



To retrospectively review the frequency, patterns and intra-abdominal sites of metastatic invasive lobular breast cancer, and to correlate the findings with overall survival.

Materials and methods

From a pathology database search revealing 327 patients with metastatic lobular breast cancer at our institution from January 2004 through August 2014, imaging was available in 116 patients (age range, 31–87 years, mean age, 55). Simple descriptive statistics were performed to record and tabulate the abdominal metastatic spread. Prognostic significance of abdominal metastases and individual abdominal metastatic sites was studied using the Log-rank test and construction of Kaplan–Meier curves.


The most frequent sites of intra-abdominal metastatic invasive lobular breast cancer were peritoneum (55 patients, 47%), followed by liver (37 patients, 32%), bowel (34 patients, 29%), ovary (33 patients, 28%), retroperitoneum (16 patients, 14%), ureter (16 patients, 14%), and lymph nodes (15 patients, 13%). Bowel obstruction was noted in 15 patients (13%) and hydronephrosis in 25 patients (22%). The median abdominal metastasis-free survival was 76 months (interquartile range: 17–191). The overall survival (OS) was 86 months (interquartile range: 49–188). Patients with abdominal metastases had shorter OS. Patients with hepatic metastases had shorter overall survival than those patients without hepatic metastases (p = 0.02, Log-Rank test).


Invasive lobular breast cancer has a predilection for metastasizing to both typical (liver) and atypical intra-abdominal sites (peritoneum, GI tract, and adnexa). Presence of intra-abdominal disease and hepatic metastases in patients with ILC negatively affects overall survival.


Invasive lobular Breast cancer Metastases CT 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Pamela J. DiPiro declares that she has no conflict of interest. Sree Harsha Tirumani declares that he has no conflict of interest. Gisele P Cruz declares that she has no conflict of interest. Nikhil H Ramaiya declares that he has no conflict of interest. Susan C Lester declares that she has no conflict of interest. Atul B. Shinagare is a consultant for Arog Pharmaceuticals and has received research funding from GTx, Inc.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela J. DiPiro
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sree Harsha Tirumani
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gisele P. Cruz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nikhil H. Ramaiya
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Susan C. Lester
    • 3
  • Atul B. Shinagare
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Imaging, Harvard Medical SchoolDana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, Harvard Medical SchoolBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical SchoolBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.University Hospitals Cleveland Medical CenterCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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