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Am J Surg Pathol. 2008 Sep;32(9):1299-309. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e318165eb50.

Lymphomas involving the breast: a study of 106 cases comparing localized and disseminated neoplasms.

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  • 1Department of Hematopathology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Lymphomas involving the breast account for approximately 2% of extranodal and <1% of all non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Our aim in this study was to classify breast lymphomas using the World Health Organization classification and then compare this classification with clinical, histologic, and radiologic findings as well as survival. The study group included 106 patients with breast lymphoma (105 women and 1 man). The neoplasms were divided into 2 groups based on extent of disease at initial diagnosis: localized disease (n=50) and disseminated disease (n=56). The follow-up period ranged from 4 to 252 months (median, 49 mo). Almost all (97%) patients presented with a palpable breast mass or masses. In the localized group, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) was most frequent (n=32, 64%). In the disseminated group, follicular lymphoma was most frequent and exclusive to this group (P=0.0004). Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphomas occurred in both groups without a significant difference in frequency. A variety of other types of B-cell and T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas and classical Hodgkin lymphoma involved the breast at much lower frequency; most of these neoplasms involved the breast as part of disseminated disease. The clinical presentation correlated with radiologic findings: localized lymphomas presented as solitary masses, whereas disseminated lymphomas commonly presented as multifocal masses. There was a significant difference in the disease-free survival between patients with localized and disseminated DLBCL (P=0.003). In the disseminated group, patients with DLBCL had a worse disease-free survival compared with patients with mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma or follicular lymphoma (P=0.01).

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