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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 590-591

Mucinous carcinoma of the male breast

Department of Pathology, Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College, Tamaka, Kolar, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication24-Feb-2011

Correspondence Address:
Subhashish Das
C/o Dr. Kalyani R., H. No. 127/13, "Sri Ganesh", 4th main, 4th cross, P.C. Extension, Kolar - 563 101, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.77094

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How to cite this article:
Das S, Kalyani P. Mucinous carcinoma of the male breast. J Can Res Ther 2010;6:590-1

How to cite this URL:
Das S, Kalyani P. Mucinous carcinoma of the male breast. J Can Res Ther [serial online] 2010 [cited 2022 May 21];6:590-1. Available from: https://www.cancerjournal.net/text.asp?2010/6/4/590/77094


A 35-year-male with a history of slow growing, painless lump in the right breast since 2 years was presented. On examination the lump was found to be firm, nodular, non-tender and measured 4×3 cms. Axillary lymph nodes were not palpable. Systemic examination was normal.

The routine investigations were normal. Aspiration was done using a 22-G needle and a 10-cc syringe. The aspirate was mucoid. Multiple smears were prepared and stained with Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E), May-Grunwald-Giemsa stain and Meyers mucicarmine stain. The smears were highly cellular. The tumor cells were arranged as 3-D balls, pseudo-papillary structures and angulated papillae entangled in pools of mucin [Figure 1]. The tumor cells had clear to eosinophilic cytoplasm with the nuclei having fine chromatin and indistinct nucleoli. Abundant extracellular mucin, confirmed with mucicarmine stain, was observed.[Figure 2] Cytomorphologically a diagnosis of mucinous carcinoma (Grade 2 was made).
Figure 1: Microphotograph showing tumor cells arranged as 3-D balls, pseudopapillary structures and angulated papillae in pools of mucin (H&E, ×400)

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Figure 2: Microphograph showing tumor cells floating in a mucinous background (Mucicaramine ×400)

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Mastectomy specimen received measured 12×6×3 cms. Nipple and areola were normal. Cut-section showed a circumscribed gray white nodule 4×3×1 cms. The cut-surface was translucent with ill-defined margins. No lymph nodes were identified. Histopathological examination showed features of mucinous carcinoma with tumor cells arranged in a variable pattern of cell balls, pseudo-papillae, cohesive clusters and singly with the retraction spaces around the tumor cell showing abundant mucin. [Figure 3]. The neoplastic cells were positive for estrogen (ER) and progesterone receptors (PR). Post-operative period was uneventful and the patient is having a regular follow-up.
Figure 3: Microphotograph showing histopathological features of mucinous carcinoma (H&E, ×400)

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Male breast carcinoma accounts for less than 1% of all breast cancers. [1] Mucinous carcinoma constitutes not more than 0.5% among the histological variants, commonest being the infiltrating duct carcinoma (80.5%). [1] If more than 90% of the tumor area consists of mucinous element, a diagnosis of pure mucinous carcinoma is considered which has a better prognosis. [1] In their study, Bhagat et al[2] found 14 cases of malignant mammary tumor in men of which only one case of mucinous carcinoma was reported. Visfeldt et al, [3] had found five cases of mucinous carcinoma out of 187 male breast carcinoma. High-risk genetic factors for male breast cancer include BRCA2 mutations, Klinefelter syndrome, hormonal imbalances, radiation exposure and family history. [4]

Majority of the mammary mucinous tumors in men are ER-positive, which, however, does not correlate with a better prognosis and are often associated with a higher stage of the disease. [5] Additional immunohistochemical features of male breast cancer include over expression of p 53 and Erb-B2, which are associated with survival and cell proliferative activities. [5] Worse prognosis in men is due to anatomic factors (i.e., paucity of breast tissue and close tumor proximity to skin and nipple, facilitating dermal lymphatic spread and early regional and distant metastasis) and delayed diagnosis. [5] Modified radical mastectomy, combined with sentinel-node biopsy, is the standard treatment.

 > References Top

1.Rosen PP, Oberman HA. Tumors of Mammary Glands. 3 rd series, fascicle 7. Washington, DC: AFIP; 1993. p. 217.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Bhagat P, Kline TS. The male breast and malignant neoplasms: Diagnosis by aspiration biopsy cytology. Cancer 1990;65:233-41.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Visfeldt J, Scheike O. Male breast cancer- histologic typing and grading of 187 Danish cases. Cancer 1973;32:985.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Muir D, Kanthan R, Kanthan SC. Male versus female breast cancers: A population based comparative immunohistochemical analysis. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2003:127:36-41.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Joshi MG, Lee Ak, Loda M, Camus MG, Pedersen C. Male breast carcinoma: An evaluation of prognostic factors contributing to a poorer outcome. Cancer 1996:177:490-8.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]


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