Breast tuberculosis: diagnosis, clinical features & management

Indian J Med Res. 2005 Aug;122(2):103-10.


The significance of breast tuberculosis is due to rare occurrence and mistaken identity with breast cancer and pyogenic breast abscess. Breast tuberculosis was scarcely reported even from endemic areas until lately when several reports have come up from South Africa and India. The incidence of tubercular mastitis although decreasing in the West, could show a resurgence with the global pandemic of AIDS. Breast tuberculosis has no defined clinical features. Radiological imaging is not diagnostic. Diagnosis is based on identification of typical histological features or the tubercle bacilli under microscopy or culture. Antitubercular therapy for 6 months with or without minimal surgical intervention forms the mainstay of treatment today. Over the years since the first description of tubercular mastitis in 1829, the incidence, clinical presentation, diagnostic and treatment methodology of breast tuberculosis has gradually changed. This review discusses the important issues relating to the diagnosis, clinical features, and management of breast tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast / microbiology
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Breast Diseases / microbiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastitis / microbiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / therapy*


  • Antitubercular Agents