Metaplastic breast carcinoma invading chest wall

J M Harb, R A Komorowski, C M Vitali
Ultrastructural Pathology 1995, 19 (5): 439-43
Metaplastic breast carcinoma refers to a heterogeneous group of neoplasms in which the typical glandular growth pattern of the tumor undergoes metaplasia, either epithelial or stromal. A 59-year-old woman presented with a breast mass that recurred in 1 year and showed invasion of the chest wall. Histological sections of both the tumor and the recurrence showed a tumor composed predominantly of stromal spindle cells with neoplastic epithelial ducts. Squamous metaplasia was seen in some ducts. Immunohistochemical staining showed positive cytokeratin and epithelial membrane antigen staining of the epithelial cells. Smooth muscle actin, S100, and vimentin were diffusely positive in the stromal cells. Electron microscopy of the original lesion showed cells with squamous epithelial and smooth muscle characteristics, and other cells that formed lumens into which microvilli projected. Electron microscopy of the recurrent lesion showed primarily spindle-shaped cells with abundant tonofilaments in the perinuclear cytoplasm, desmosomes with associated tonofilaments, filaments with focal densities, often aligned parallel with the cell membranes, surface attachment plaques, and fragments of basement membrane. Pinocytotic vesicles were rare. These metaplastic cells are derived from myoepithelial cells which are multipotential and able to differentiate into epithelial or stromal cells.

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