Mammary myofibroblastoma: a tumor with a wide morphologic spectrum

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2008 Nov;132(11):1813-20. doi: 10.5858/132.11.1813.


Context: Myofibroblastoma (MFB) of the breast is an unusual benign tumor that belongs to the family of the "benign spindle cell tumors of the mammary stroma." The name MFB reflects its cellular composition, comprising mainly stromal cells with fibromyofibroblastic and, less frequently, myoid differentiation. Since the original description, the morphologic spectrum of MFB has been expanded by the recognition of several unusual morphologic variants, such as the cellular, infiltrative, epithelioid, deciduoid-like, lipomatous, collagenized/fibrous, and myxoid variants.

Objective: To review the literature on mammary MFB, discussing the main clinical, radiologic, and pathologic features helpful for diagnosis. Since MFB may show alarming morphologic features, which can lead to a misdiagnosis of malignancy, histologic figures of this tumor, including its more unusual variants, are provided to offer pathologists a practical approach to a correct diagnosis. Histogenesis and pathogenesis of this tumor are also proposed.

Data sources: Clinicopathologic data on MFB were extracted from all identified articles through PUB Medline- based research. Histologic figures have been taken from the personal archive of the author.

Conclusions: The incidence of MFB diagnosis has increased in recent years, likely due to the mammographic screening. Accordingly, this unusual benign tumor may represent a potential diagnostic pitfall, especially when interpreting fine-needle aspiration and/or needle core biopsy. Pathologists should be aware of the wide morphologic spectrum exhibited by MFB to avoid a misdiagnosis of malignancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Errors / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Muscle Tissue / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms, Muscle Tissue / pathology*