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Surg Today. 2009;39(1):5-8. doi: 10.1007/s00595-008-3792-9. Epub 2009 Jan 8.

Clinical and pathological features of intracystic papillary carcinoma of the breast.

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  • 1Division of Breast Surgery, National Cancer Center Hospital, 5-1-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0045, Japan.



To evaluate the clinicopathological features of intracystic papillary carcinoma (ICPC), which have not been established given its rarity and lack of standard diagnostic criteria.


We reviewed the clinicopathological findings and treatment outcomes of 14 patients with ICPC diagnosed between 2002 and 2006.


Intracystic papillary carcinoma was diagnosed by fine-needle aspiration biopsy in three patients and by core-needle biopsy in six patients. A preoperative diagnosis was not made in five patients. Three patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging preoperatively, which helped to differentiate benign tumors and maintain free surgical margins. The final pathological diagnosis was invasive carcinoma in 2 (14.2%) of the 14 patients. The patients were followed up for 1-72 months, during which time only one died, of a cancer-unrelated cause.


Our results show that ICPC is more difficult to diagnose than common breast cancer preoperatively. Excisional biopsy was necessary when fine-needle aspiration and core-needle biopsy could not provide a diagnosis. Magnetic resonance imaging is helpful to differentiate a benign tumor from invasive disease.

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