The value of cytology in granulomatous mastitis: a report of 16 cases from Malaysia

Aust N Z J Surg. 2000 Feb;70(2):103-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1622.2000.01764.x.


Background: Granulomatous mastitis is a rare condition of the breast that can mimic a carcinoma. There are characteristic histological features, the most important of which is a predominantly lobular inflammatory process. It must be differentiated from known causes of granulomatous inflammation, such as tuberculosis.

Methods: In the present paper, the clinical and pathological features of 16 patients with granulomatous mastitis seen over a 3-year period in the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, are described.

Results: A clinical suspicion of malignancy was present in 10 cases. One of the patients was nulliparous. One had an associated hyperprolactinaemia, while two had systemic lupus erythromatosis. One of the patients was pregnant at the time of presentation. Four patients had localized lumps excised, five were treated conservatively because the lesion was too extensive to resect, and seven patients required drainage procedures for abscess formation.

Conclusion: Awareness of this condition is important because it mimics a carcinoma, and surgery may not be the best treatment for recurrent disease.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cytodiagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Granuloma / epidemiology
  • Granuloma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Malaysia / epidemiology
  • Mastitis / epidemiology
  • Mastitis / pathology*
  • Pregnancy