Pathological criteria and practical issues in papillary lesions of the breast - a review

Histopathology. 2016 Jan;68(1):22-32. doi: 10.1111/his.12866.


Papillary lesions of the breast include a broad spectrum of lesions, ranging from benign papilloma, papilloma with atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) to papillary carcinoma. The accurate diagnosis of mammary papillary lesions is a challenge for pathologists, owing to the overlapping features among these lesions. In this review, some of the diagnostic criteria of papillary lesions are discussed, with special emphasis on some key morphological features, namely fibrovascular cores, epithelial proliferation in a solid pattern, intraductal papilloma complicated by ADH or DCIS, and invasion and its mimics. The roles of immunohistochemistry, and the interpretation of myoepithelial cell markers, hormone receptors, and high molecular weight cytokeratin, are addressed. Finally, novel biomarkers and genetic aberrations in papillary lesions are summarized.

Keywords: biopsy; breast; papillary lesions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Papilloma / pathology*