Tuberculosis of axillary lymph nodes with primary breast cancer

Breast Cancer. 2003;10(2):175-8. doi: 10.1007/BF02967646.


A rare case of tuberculosis of axillary lymph nodes occurring with primary breast cancer is presented. A 78-year-old woman with no history of pulmonary tuberculosis was admitted to our hospital to undergo examination for a lump in her right breast. The tumor was in the upper outer quadrant of the right breast. On palpation, the tumor was 1.2 cm in diameter and axillary lymph node swelling was noted. Mammography disclosed a spiculated mass and swelling and calcification of the axillary lymph nodes. Sonography showed an irregular hypoechoic mass in the right breast and lymph node swelling in the right axilla, indicating breast cancer with axillary lymph nodes metastases. Chest X-ray showed clustered calcifications in the right axilla and a granular shadow in the right upper lobe. Breast conserving therapy was carried out. Invasive papillotubular carcinoma of the right breast and granulomas with calcification of lymph nodes, compatible with tuberculosis, was diagnosed. Tubercle bacillis were detected by culture of lymph nodes. This case suggests that X-ray is useful for diagnosing lymph node tuberculosis. Lymph node tuberculosis should be suspected when lymph node swelling is noted and X-ray shows clustered calcifications in axillary lymph nodes.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Axilla
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / complications*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymph Nodes / surgery
  • Mastectomy, Segmental
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Tuberculosis / complications
  • Tuberculosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tuberculosis / pathology
  • Tuberculosis / surgery