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Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)

Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), also called lobular breast cancer, is a type of breast cancer that originates in the milk-producing glands (lobules) of the breast. Our company is at the forefront of providing cutting-edge services for the development of drugs and therapies targeting ILC.

Overview of Invasive Lobular Carcinoma

Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) is characterized by the abnormal growth and invasion of cancer cells in the lobules of the breast. It accounts for approximately 10-15% of all breast cancer cases. Unlike other types of breast cancer, ILC often does not form a distinct lump but rather spreads in a linear and infiltrative pattern. This unique growth pattern poses challenges in both diagnosis and therapeutics.

Immunophenotype of Invasive Lobular Carcinoma

The immunophenotype of ILC plays a crucial role in understanding the disease and developing targeted therapies. Immunohistochemical analysis has revealed specific characteristics of ILC, including:

  • Loss of E-cadherin
    ILC is characterized by the loss of E-cadherin expression, a cell adhesion molecule crucial for maintaining tissue integrity. This loss contributes to the unique infiltrative growth pattern observed in ILC.
  • Positive Hormone Receptor Status
    The majority of ILC cases exhibit positive hormone receptor status, with high expression of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR). This feature makes hormone therapy an effective therapy option for many ILC cases.
  • Variable HER2 Expression
    HER2 overexpression, a common molecular feature in other subtypes of breast cancer, is less frequently observed in ILC. However, it is important to assess HER2 status in ILC cases to guide therapy decisions.
Molecular, pathological and immunological analysis of Lobular Carcinoma.Fig. 1 Features of ILC. (Wilson, Natalie, et al., 2021)

Targets of Invasive Lobular Carcinoma Therapy

Estrogen Receptor 1 (ESR1)

Mutations in the ESR1 gene have been found to occur in ILC and contribute to hormone therapy resistance. Targeting ESR1 mutations holds promise for overcoming resistance and improving therapeutic outcomes.


Mutations in the ERBB2 and ERBB3 genes have been associated with an increased risk of relapse and poorer outcomes in ILC. These mutations may serve as escape mechanisms to endocrine therapy and can potentially be targeted with HER2 inhibitors.

TBX3 and FOXA1

Histo-specific changes enriched in ILC include mutations in the TBX3 and FOXA1 genes. These mutations have been identified as potential targets for therapy development.


Mutations in the NF1 gene have been found to be enriched in metastatic ILC. Targeting NF1 mutations may play a crucial role in mediating endocrine therapy resistance.

Therapies of Invasive Lobular Carcinoma

  • Endocrine Therapy
    Endocrine therapy plays a vital role in the therapeutics of ILC due to its hormone receptor-positive nature. This type of therapy aims to block or interfere with the hormone receptors, such as estrogen receptors, to inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells. The main types of endocrine therapy used for ILC are tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors.
  • Targeted Therapy
    Targeted therapies specifically inhibit the activity of certain molecules involved in the growth and survival of cancer cells. In the case of ILC, targeted therapies may include HER2 inhibitors (targeting ERBB2 and ERBB3 mutations) or other agents aimed at blocking specific molecular targets identified in ILC, such as TBX3 and FOXA1.

Our Services

To identify potential therapeutic targets and provide comprehensive diagnostics and therapy development services, our company offers comprehensive genetic testing to identify specific mutations and alterations associated with ILC, including TBX3, ESR1, ERBB2, ERBB3, FOXA1, and NF1.

Therapy Development Platforms

Animal Models of Invasive Lobular Carcinoma

Our company conducts rigorous preclinical efficacy studies using in vitro cell models and animal models. These studies assess the effectiveness of potential therapies against ILC and provide valuable data for further development.

Xenograft Model Development
Our team of experts is well-versed in employing different inoculation routes, including systemic, local, orthotopic, subcutaneous, and intraductal injections. By carefully selecting the appropriate route, we can tailor the xenograft models to address specific research objectives.
Optional Cell Lines SUM-44 PE, MDA-MB-134-VI, IPH-926, T69, T73, T78, LA-PDX1, BCM-3561, HCI-005, Others
Genetic Engineering Model Development
By leveraging GEMMs, we can investigate the functional consequences of specific genetic alterations in the development and progression of ILC. Activating oncogenes, such as PIK3CA, or deleting tumor suppressor genes, such as PTEN, in GEMMs allows us to study their impact on ILC initiation, progression, and therapeutic response.
Optional Transgene Cdh1, Tp53, Pten, AKT, Myh9, t-ASPP2, Trps1, Others
Optional Species Mouse, Rat, Dog, Cat, Macaque, Zebrafish, Others

In addition, we also provide other customized animal models to meet diverse needs. If you are interested in our services, please feel free to contact us for more details and quotation information of related services.


  • Wilson, Natalie, et al. "Lobular breast cancer: a review." Frontiers in Oncology 10 (2021): 591399.
  • McCart Reed, Amy E., et al. "Invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast: the increasing importance of this special subtype." Breast Cancer Research 23 (2021): 1-16.

All of our services and products are intended for preclinical research use only and cannot be used to diagnose, treat or manage patients.

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