Cystic neutrophilic granulomatous mastitis: an underappreciated pattern strongly associated with gram-positive bacilli

Am J Clin Pathol. 2011 Sep;136(3):424-7. doi: 10.1309/AJCP1W9JBRYOQSNZ.


Although granulomatous lobular mastitis is associated with gram-positive bacilli such as Corynebacterium, this association is not well known. We report 3 cases of mastitis caused by gram-positive bacilli. All 3 abscesses were suppurative with distinct enlarged cystic spaces in which rare gram-positive bacilli were identified. Two cases were also granulomatous. Cultures in all 3 cases were negative. All 3 patients recovered after biopsy and tetracycline-based therapy. Infection in the breast by gram-positive bacilli is associated with a distinct histologic pattern, including cystic spaces in the setting of neutrophilic/granulomatous inflammation that can be recognized and should prompt careful search for the organism within enlarged vacuoles.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria*
  • Granulomatous Mastitis / microbiology*
  • Granulomatous Mastitis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils / microbiology*
  • Neutrophils / pathology