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Tubular carcinoma of male breast

 Department of Pathology, S.R.T.R. Government Medical College, Beed, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission19-Oct-2019
Date of Decision17-Jan-2020
Date of Acceptance20-Apr-2020

Correspondence Address:
Sunil Yogiraj Swami,
Bhagwanbaba Chowk, Gitta - Road, Shepwadi, Ambajogai, Beed - 431 517, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_288_19


Tubular carcinoma [TC] is a special type of breast carcinoma with favorable prognosis, composed of distinct, well differentiated angular tubular structures (90% or more according to WHO) with open lumina, lined by a single layer of epithelial cells. This pattern is better described as a necklace formed by a string of beads. 2 - 6% of all malignant breast tumors. TC is often multifocal or multicentric [20 - 55%]. Here we present a case report of TC of breast in a 76 years old male.

Keywords: Breast, carcinoma, male, tubular

How to cite this URL:
Kamble N G, Swami SY. Tubular carcinoma of male breast. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2021 Jun 13]. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=309000

  Introduction Top

Carcinoma of a breast is rare in men accounting for 0.6% of all breast cancers and <1% of malignancies in men.[1] Tubular carcinoma (TC) of the male breast is a rare neoplasm that may have a biological behavior comparable to its counterpart in females.[2] Despite the advent of sophisticated diagnostic methods, fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) remains a critical diagnostic modality in the workup of breast masses in a developing country.[3]

  Case Report Top

A 71-year-old male presented with swelling of size 1.5 cm × 1.5 cm over the left side of the chest for 6 months. The swelling was immobile, nontender, and firm in consistency with a smooth surface. FNAC [Figure 1] revealed cellular smears with atypical cells arranged in three-dimensional (3D) balls, clusters, and at places in angulated tubules in the background without bare nuclei. Cytological impression was suggestive of atypical lobular hyperplasia with advice of biopsy to rule out ductal carcinoma with tubular features/TC. Modified radical mastectomy was performed [Figure 2] and received on gross tissue mass of size 10 cm × 4 cm × 1.3 cm. Histopathology [Figure 3] revealed tumor tissue composed of lobules of well-defined tubular structures with open lumina and lined by a single layer of cells. These tubules were separated by thin fibrous septa, with infiltration of tumor cells in the surrounding parenchyma. These features were consistent with tubular variant of invasive ductal carcinoma/TC.
Figure 1: (a and b) Fine-needle aspiration cytology: Cellular smears with groups and individually scattered atypical epithelial cells

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Figure 2: (a and b) Gross and cut sections: MRM specimen showing tissue mass of size 10 cm × 4 cm × 1.3 cm with lymph nodes with cut sections of tumor tissue proper

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Figure 3: (a and b) Section showing groups and tubules of ductal epithelial cells separated by thin fibrous septa with infiltration in the surrounding parenchyma

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  Discussion and Conclusion Top

TC of the breast is an uncommon histological subtype of invasive breast cancer that accounts for approximately 1% to 5% of invasive breast carcinomas.[4]

Several risk factors for male breast carcinoma have been proposed, such as familial and genetic factors, radiation exposure, Klinefelter's syndrome, hormonal imbalance, undescended testis, obesity, orchitis, and orchiectomy.[1] No such risk factors were noted in the present case.

A painless lump beneath the areola, usually discovered by the patient himself, is the most common presenting symptoms in the male breast carcinoma. Tumor size is usually <3 cm in diameter but associated with nipple retraction, discharge, and fixation of breast tissue to skin and muscles. Approximately half of the men with breast carcinoma have palpable axillary lymph nodes.[5]

FNAC can be effectively used in male patients to differentiate malignant from nonmalignant diseases. In the present case, smears were cellular with atypical cells arranged in 3D balls and clusters without lining of myoepithelial cells. At places shows cells arranged in angulated tubules in the background without bare nuclei. These cytological features were suggestive of ductal carcinoma with tubular features. Biopsy revealed lobules of well-defined tubular structures with open lumina and lined by a single layer of cells. These tubules were separated by thin fibrous septa, features consistent with TC.

TC is defined as a well-differentiated invasive carcinoma with regular cells arranged in well-defined tubules (typically one layer thick) surrounded by an abundant fibro-hyaline stroma, classified as pure TC or mixed TC. The term pure TC is assigned to tumors with a tubular composition of ≥90%, a low nuclear grade, and no mitoses, whereas mixed TC has a tubular composition of ≥75%.[4]

Pure TC of the breast is a well-differentiated and distinct histologic subtype of invasive carcinoma, accounting for <2% of all breast carcinomas and is associated with an excellent prognosis.[6]

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Patil N, Dhiraj KS, Pankti MP. Male breast carcinoma-a cytological study and clinicopathological correlation of a case. IOSR-JDMS 2015;14:79-81.  Back to cited text no. 1
Jerome B. Taxy. Tubular carcinoma of the male breast. Report of a case. Cancer 1975;36:462-65.  Back to cited text no. 2
Pratik MC, Nayak S, Kumbhalkar D. Role of fine needle aspiration cytology in male breast lesion: 4 year observational study. Int J Res Med Sci 2016;4:3945-50.  Back to cited text no. 3
Min Y, Bae SY, Lee HC, Lee JH, Kim M, Kim J, et al. Tubular carcinoma of the breast: Clinicopathologic features and survival outcome compared with ductal carcinoma in situ. J Breast Cancer 2013;16:404-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sarru E, Mudarris F, Amr S. Male breast cancer – Case report and brife review. Middle East J Fam Med 2004;6:6.  Back to cited text no. 5
Rakha EA, Lee AH, Evans AJ, Menon S, Assad NY, Hodi Z, et al. Tubular carcinoma of the breast: Further evidence to support its excellent prognosis. J Clin Oncol 2010;28:99-104.  Back to cited text no. 6


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]


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