Metaplastic carcinomas of the breast

T C Chao, C S Wang, S C Chen, M F Chen
Journal of Surgical Oncology 1999, 71 (4): 220-5

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Metaplastic carcinomas of the breast are rare neoplasms. The purpose of the present study is to better characterize the clinical course, treatment, and prognostic factors of metaplastic breast carcinomas.

METHODS: Data of 14 patients with metaplastic breast carcinoma were retrospectively reviewed. The follow-up period ranged from 2 months to 10 years, 10 months (median 4.3 years).

RESULTS: The patients' ages ranged from 38 to 66 years (median 50.5 years). The tumors were 2.5 to 18 cm (median 4.8 cm) in size. Seven patients had axillary nodal metastases at the time of diagnosis. Estrogen and progesterone receptors were positive in only one tumor. Twelve patients underwent modified radical mastectomy and two patients underwent incisional biopsy. Adjuvant chemotherapy was administered to six patients, and radiotherapy to two patients after mastectomy. Two patients received preoperative chemotherapy. Seven patients were living without evidence of disease at a median of 7.3 years after surgery. A patient died of ovarian carcinoma without recurrence or metastasis of breast cancer. Metastases occurred in five patients at 4 to 16 months (median 8 months) after initial treatment. Duration of symptoms, TNM stage, tumor size, and axillary nodal status were significant prognostic factors of survival.

CONCLUSIONS: The patients with metaplastic breast carcinomas may have a favorable prognosis.

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