Gastric metastasis from breast carcinoma. Report of three cases, diagnostic-therapeutic critical close examination and literature review

Ann Ital Chir. 2010 Mar-Apr;81(2):141-6.


Gastric metastases of breast cancer represent a not so rare event in patients affected. In fact, it occurs in 0.3% of cases. Although the introduction of new adjuvant therapies has given rise to an increase in disease free survival and overall survival rates, it has also led to more frequent occurrences of breast cancer metastatic lesions localized in bone, lung/pleura and liver, but above all in the stomach. The authors present three cases of patients suffering from breast cancer with secondary gastric neoplastic lesions from lobular and infiltrating ductal breast cancer. Lobular breast cancer is the histological type mostly involved in disseminated disease, with an incidence of 85% of cases. A review of the literature reveals that authors address the clinical and diagnostic problems of differentiating between a breast cancer metastasis to the stomach and a primary gastric cancer using recent diagnostic strategies to make an early diagnosis. Today practitioners have specific tests to detect early gastric cancer metastases of breast cancer such as endoscopic ultrasound, which provides a better endoscopic definition of the lesions, and immunohistochemical markers, able to distinguish the primary lobular histological type from ductal cancer. Besides, an early diagnosis associated with the latest adjuvant systemic therapies and hormonal treatment, alone or in combination, may grant affected patients a remission with a survival rate of 10-28 months, and a reasonable quality of life. At present the surgical approach should be reserved for selected cases and/or complications.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Stomach Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Stomach Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / therapy