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J Clin Imaging Sci. 2012;2:21. doi: 10.4103/2156-7514.95435. Epub 2012 Apr 28.

Review of metaplastic carcinoma of the breast: imaging findings and pathologic features.

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Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Medical University of South Carolina, 96 Jonathan Lucas St. MSC 323, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


Metaplastic carcinoma (MPC), an uncommon but often aggressive breast cancer, can be challenging to differentiate from other types of breast cancer and even benign lesions based on the imaging appearance. It has a variable pathology classification system. These types of tumors are generally rapidly growing palpable masses. MPCs on imaging can present with imaging features similar to invasive ductal carcinoma and probably even benign lesions. The purpose of this article is to review MPC of the breast including the pathology subtypes, imaging features, and imaging pathology correlations. By understanding the clinical picture, pathology, and overlap in imaging characteristics of MPC with invasive ductal carcinoma and probably benign lesions can assist in diagnosing these difficult malignancies.


Metaplastic carcinoma; invasive ductal carcinoma; spindle cell

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