Myoepithelial and epithelial-myoepithelial, mesenchymal and fibroepithelial breast lesions: updates from the WHO Classification of Tumours of the Breast 2012

J Clin Pathol. 2013 Jun;66(6):465-70. doi: 10.1136/jclinpath-2012-201078. Epub 2013 Mar 26.


In the 4th edition of the WHO Classification of Tumours of the Breast, myoepithelial lesions are retitled myoepithelial and epithelial-myoepithelial lesions in order to better reflect the dual participation of luminal and myoepithelial compartments in some key entities. Malignant myoepithelioma, described as a section within the chapter on myoepithelial lesions in the 3rd edition, is recognised in the 4th edition as part of metaplastic carcinoma. Adenomyoepithelioma with malignancy is categorised in terms of the cellular component undergoing malignant transformation. The list of antibodies that can be used for identifying myoepithelial cells is updated. Among mesenchymal lesions, new additions are nodular fasciitis and atypical vascular lesions, while the haemangiopericytoma is removed. The 3rd edition stated that pathological prediction of behaviour of phyllodes tumours is difficult in the individual case. In the 4th edition, some progress has been made in prioritisation and weighting of histological parameters that can potentially estimate probability of recurrence. The WHO Working Group advocates leaning towards a diagnosis of fibroadenoma in cases where there is histological uncertainty in distinction from a benign phyllodes tumour, or adopting the neutral term 'benign fibroepithelial neoplasm', as the clinical behaviour of fibroadenoma overlaps with that of benign phyllodes tumour. The 3rd edition terminology of 'periductal stromal sarcoma' is revised to 'periductal stromal tumour', akin to the widespread consensus to avoid the use of the term 'cystosarcoma' in the context of phyllodes tumours.

Keywords: Breast; Breast Cancer; Breast Pathology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenomyoepithelioma / classification*
  • Adenomyoepithelioma / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / classification*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Fasciitis / classification*
  • Fasciitis / pathology
  • Female
  • Fibroadenoma / classification*
  • Fibroadenoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Myoepithelioma / classification*
  • Myoepithelioma / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / classification*
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology
  • Phyllodes Tumor / classification*
  • Phyllodes Tumor / pathology
  • World Health Organization