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Virchows Arch. 2008 Oct;453(4):401-6. doi: 10.1007/s00428-008-0657-y. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

The pre-lymphatic pathway, the rooths of the lymphatic system in breast tissue: a 3D study.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences and Human Oncology, Molinette Hospital, University of Turin, Via Santena 7, 10126, Turin, Italy.


Three-dimensional (3D) visualisation of microscopic structures provides useful information about their configuration and the spatial (hence functional) relationship between different components in tissues. This paper describes 3D dynamic reconstructions of the pre-lymphatic labyrinth in two cases of "normal" breast core biopsies and one case of pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia. Direct anastomoses between pre-lymphatic channels and true lymphatics of the breast were demonstrated. It is concluded that pre-lymphatics are a way of communication between breast epithelial/stromal structures and the main lymphatic system. The present findings suggest that the existence of pre-lymphatics has to be taken in consideration in the intramammary spread of malignant tumours.

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