Tubular carcinoma of the breast: mammographic and sonographic features

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2000 Jan;174(1):253-7. doi: 10.2214/ajr.174.1.1740253.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to define specific mammographic and sonographic features of tubular carcinoma of the breast.

Materials and methods: Seventeen pathologically confirmed cases of tubular carcinoma were characterized retrospectively by two radiologists. Mammograms and sonograms were available for all patients.

Results: Fifteen of the 17 tubular carcinomas appeared as irregularly shaped masses with spiculated margins on mammography. Sixteen of the 17 masses had central densities. Spicules longer than the diameter of the central lesion were noted in eight (53%) of 15 tubular carcinomas. Eight tubular carcinomas had associated calcifications, with calcifications suspected of being malignant in four cases. On sonography, 15 hypoechoic masses were seen. The margins of the masses on sonography were described as ill-defined in 14 (93%) of the 15 cases. Posterior acoustic shadowing was present in 14 of the 15 cases.

Conclusion: Tubular carcinomas are usually seen on mammography as irregularly shaped masses with central densities and spiculated margins, and most tubular carcinomas can be identified on sonography as hypoechoic masses with ill-defined margins and posterior acoustic shadowing. Although the mammographic and sonographic features of tubular carcinoma are not sufficiently specific to differentiate tubular carcinomas from radial scars, sonography can be useful for guiding biopsies and evaluating for multifocal and multicentric disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary*