A study from Turin, Italy published recently in Endocrine Related Cancer noted that former users of hormone replacement therapy drugs who are diagnosed with lobular breast cancers may require specialized treatment based upon the unique characteristics of their tumors. The researchers noted a “growing body of evidence” to “support the association between the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and a higher risk of both invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) and invasive ductal-lobular mixed carcinoma (IDLC).”
The authors indicated that lobular cancers in HRT users have a different presentation than ductal cancers and are often far more challenging to diagnose early since lobular tumors are generally less concentrated and more disseminated than ductal tumors. The authors suggested that MRI technology may be more precise than traditional mammograms in detecting lobular breast cancers, and that patients with lobular breast cancers may have a greater need to undergo mastectomies than patients with ductal tumors. The authors also concluded that patients with lobular breast cancer tumors associated with their past use of hormone replacement therapy drugs may not have the same response to preoperative chemotherapy as patients with other types of tumors. Finally, the authors concluded that patients with metastatic lobular breast tumors are also unique in that testing often shows that the breast cancer has spread to the gastrointestinal tract, peritoneum, or gynecological organs, a presentation that is not so common with regard to metastases of ductal breast cancers.