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Br J Radiol. 2012 Jun;85(1014):e195-205. doi: 10.1259/bjr/78413721.

Primary and secondary breast lymphoma: prevalence, clinical signs and radiological features.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany.



The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence, clinical signs and radiological features of breast lymphoma.


This is a retrospective review of 36 patients with breast lymphoma (22 primary and 14 secondary). 35 patients were female and 1 was male; their median age was 65 years (range 24-88 years). In all patients, the diagnosis was confirmed histopathologically.


The prevalence of breast lymphoma was 1.6% of all identified cases with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 0.5% of cases with breast cancer. B-cell lymphoma was found in 94% and T-cell lymphoma in 6%. 96 lesions were identified (2.7 per patient). The mean size was 15.8 ± 8.3 mm. The number of intramammary lesions was higher in secondary than in primary lymphoma. The size of the identified intramammary lesions was larger in primary than in secondary lymphoma. Clinically, 86% of the patients presented with solitary or multiple breast lumps. In 14%, breast involvement was diagnosed incidentally during staging examinations.


On mammography, intramammary masses were the most commonly seen (27 patients, 82%). Architectural distortion occurred in three patients (9%). In three patients (9%), no abnormalities were found on mammography. On ultrasound, the identified lesions were homogeneously hypoechoic or heterogeneously mixed hypo- to hyperechoic. On MRI, the morphology of the lesions was variable. After intravenous administration of contrast medium, a marked inhomogeneous contrast enhancement was seen in most cases. On CT, most lesions presented as circumscribed round or oval masses with moderate or high enhancement.

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