Adenoid cystic carcinoma of the breast

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 14 Jun 2017

Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) of the breast is a rare subtype of breast cancer.

They account for only 0.1-0.4% of all breast cancers.

The tumor demonstrates a strikingly characteristic microscopic pattern similar to that of adenoid cystic carcinoma of the salivary glands. They consist of a mixture of proliferative glandular tissue (an adenoid component) and stromal or basement membrane elements (a pseudoglandular or cylindromatous component). Adenoid cystic carcinoma of the breast displays slowly progressive growth and rarely metastasizes to the axillary lymph nodes. On pathologic analysis, it is characterized by the presence of mucin within the pseudocysts found in the tumor.

Typically tends to appear as developing asymmetric densities or irregular masses.

Can appear as irregular, heterogeneous, or hypoechoic masses with minimal vascularity on color Doppler imaging.

There is a paucity of data available on the MR imaging features of adenoid cystic carcinoma of the breast. Described features include moderately hyperintense signal on T2-weighted TSE images, a characteristic that may be attributed to the myxoid stroma and cribriform pattern of the tumor 7.

The overall prognosis is comparatively better than the usually unspecified breast cancers. Nodal metastases are rare.

It was first described by F W Foote and F W Stewart in 1946 5.

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