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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2009 Jun;103(6):559-63. doi: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2009.02.005. Epub 2009 Mar 6.

Tuberculosis of the breast: analysis of 20 cases and a literature review.

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Department of Gynecology, Hospital Getúlio Vargas, Federal University of Piauí, Teresina, PI, Brazil.


Tuberculosis (TB) of the breast is a very rare pathology. The clinical presentations of this disease are manifold, often mimicking carcinoma of the breast. We conducted a retrospective analysis of 20 women with TB of the breast receiving care at the mastology clinic at Getúlio Vargas Hospital, PI, Brazil, between 1994 and 2007. The clinical presentation of the disease, the diagnosis and the response to specific treatment were analyzed. Most of the patients were of reproductive age, with the disease affecting the right breast in eleven patients (55%) and the left breast in nine patients (45%). Palpable nodules were present in five patients (25%) and fistulae in 15 (75%). The mean time between onset of symptoms and diagnosis was 7.7 months (range 3-12 months). Skin testing with purified protein derivative of tuberculin was strongly reactive in all patients, six (30%) of whom were breastfeeding. Diagnosis was confirmed by histopathology and all patients were satisfactorily treated with a combination of rifampicin, isoniazid and pyrazinamide. In the present study, TB of the breast presented predominantly as breast abscesses and fistulae and responded satisfactorily to treatment with anti-TB drugs.

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