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J Clin Pathol. 2002 Dec;55(12):951-4.

Hamartoma of the breast: a clinicopathological review.

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  • 1Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.



To review 25 cases of breast hamartoma and discuss the pathological criteria, and the usefulness of imaging modalities, fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC), and needle core biopsy in the diagnosis.


The hamartomas were assessed for interlobular fibrotic stroma, stromal adipose tissue content, pseudo-angiomatous stromal hyperplasia, and epithelial changes (hyperplasia, adenosis or apocrine metaplasia, and cyst formation). All imagings, previous FNACs, and biopsies were also reviewed.


Imaging (mammography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging) was performed in 18 cases, and mostly showed encapsulated masses with a heterogeneous appearance. Microscopically, all hamartomas demonstrated good demarcation with fibrous tissue condensation. Adipose tissue was noted in all cases (5-90%; mean, 31%), and interlobular fibrosis in 21 cases. Benign epithelial hyperplasia occurred in 10 cases, and pseudo-angiomatous stromal hyperplasia or cystic ducts in eight cases each. Apocrine metaplasia, calcification, stromal giant cells, and adenosis occurred in four cases or less. Two cases showed coexisting ductal carcinoma in situ limited to within the hamartoma. Needle core biopsies (four cases) and FNAC (14 cases) were largely insufficient, inconclusive, or non-specific.


Hamartomas do not possess specific diagnostic histological features. The role of FNAC and needle core biopsy in making the diagnosis is limited, and requires clinical and radiological correlation to avoid underdiagnosis.

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