A large epidermoid cyst of breast mimicking carcinoma: A case report and review of literature

Int J Surg Case Rep. 2012;3(9):437-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2012.03.037. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


Introduction: Triple assessment of a suspicious breast lesion may not always provide a definite diagnosis. We report a case of epidermoid cyst of breast, which caused diagnostic dilemma in spite of a thorough triple assessment and entailed mastectomy.

Presentation of case: A 69-year-old woman presented with a large painful retroareolar left breast mass. Clinical examination, ultrasound and mammography were highly suspicious of malignancy. However, core biopsy suggested a benign lesion. Due to size of the lesion and diagnostic uncertainty, various options were discussed with the patient. She opted for a simple mastectomy. The histology confirmed a large epidermoid cyst.

Discussion: It is rare for an epidermoid cyst to present as such an advanced lesion, mimicking carcinoma. Excision of such a large retroareolar 'benign' lesion, however, may sometime entail mastectomy. This is the first reported case of an epidermoid cyst of breast necessitating mastectomy.

Conclusion: Diagnostic dilemma while dealing with a suspected breast cancer is not rare. Involvement of multidisciplinary team as well as patient is important in the decision-making. The report illustrates a rare presentation of a deep seated large epidermoid cyst of breast, which mimicked carcinoma, caused diagnostic confusion and entailed mastectomy. We strongly advocate the option of breast reconstruction in such cases.