Apocrine metaplasia of the breast

Last revised by Yaïr Glick on 6 Sep 2017

Apocrine metaplasia of the breast is a benign breast condition and is sometimes considered part of or associated with fibrocystic change. It is a common finding in the female breast, particularly after the age of 25, and many regard it as a normal component of the breast.

Seen mostly in women over the age of 50 years.

Metaplastic changes occur secondary to some kind of irritation, most often being a breast cyst. Apocrine-like cells form in a lining of developing microcysts due to the increased intraluminal pressure caused by secretions.

Mammographic features are nonspecific.

There are no distinguishing mammographic features, although a new or enlarging lobular, microlobulated mass or heterogeneous calcification cluster may sometimes represent apocrine metaplasia. When this is seen, a needle biopsy is required for definitive diagnosis 1.

Ultrasound may show a cluster of small (2-5 mm) anechoic foci with intervening septae 3.

When there is hyperplasia seen along with metaplasia there is an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1: Spot mag view
    Drag here to reorder.