Anaplastic large cell lymphoma occurring in women with breast implants: analysis of 173 cases

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2015 Mar;135(3):695-705. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000001033.


Background: The first silicone breast implant was inserted in 1962. In 1997, the first case of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) in association with a silicone breast implant was reported. The authors reviewed 37 articles in the world literature reporting on 79 patients and collected another 94 unreported cases as of the date of submission.

Methods: The world literature was reviewed. Missing clinical and laboratory information was solicited from the authors and treating physicians. As several different specialties were involved, information was not in one place. Many (but not all) authors and treating physicians were responsive, resulting in incomplete data.

Results: ALCL lesions first presented as late peri-implant seromas, a mass attached to the capsule, tumor erosion through the skin, in a regional node, or discovered during revision surgery. The clinical course varied widely from a single positive cytology result followed by apparent spontaneous resolution, to disseminated treatment-resistant tumor and death. There was no preference for saline or silicone fill or for cosmetic or reconstructive indications. Where implant history was known, the patient had received at least one textured-surface device. Extracapsular dissemination occurred in 18 cases; nine of those were fatal. Histochemical markers were primarily CD-30 and Alk-1. Other markers occurred at a lower frequency. Risk estimates ranged from one in 500,000 to one in 3 million women with implants.

Conclusion: Breast implant-associated ALCL is a novel manifestation of site- and material-specific lymphoma originating in a specific scar location, presenting a wide array of diverse characteristics and suggesting a multifactorial cause.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Implants / adverse effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic* / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic* / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic* / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Risk Factors