The role of conservative treatment in idiopathic granulomatous mastitis

Breast J. 2005 Nov-Dec;11(6):454-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1075-122X.2005.00127.x.


Idiopathic granulomatous mastitis (IGM) is a rare benign inflammatory disease of the breast that mimics carcinoma of the breast. Its etiology and treatment remain unclear. A retrospective review of nine women with histopathologic diagnosis of IGM was performed. The women had a mean follow-up of 18.7 months and a mean age of 45.7 years (range 32-83 years). The main presentation was breast mass (100%). Clinically and radiologically, 55.6% of the women were suspected to have malignancy. One patient was treated with lumpectomy without recurrence. Eight patients were treated with expectant management with close regular surveillance. No surgery was performed and no medications were given. Fifty percent of the patients had spontaneous complete resolution of disease after a mean interval of 14.5 months. These four patients had no recurrence. Fifty percent of patients had static disease. In conclusion, it is important to differentiate IGM from carcinoma of the breast. Tissue biopsy remains the gold standard to confirm the diagnosis. Expectant management with close regular surveillance is the treatment of choice.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Granuloma / diagnosis*
  • Granuloma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Mastitis / diagnosis*
  • Mastitis / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Retrospective Studies