Phyllodes Tumor of the Breast: Histopathologic Features, Differential Diagnosis, and Molecular/Genetic Updates

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2016 Jul;140(7):665-71. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2016-0042-RA.


Context: -Phyllodes tumor (PT) of the breast is a rare fibroepithelial neoplasm with risks of local recurrence and uncommon metastases. The classification proposed by the World Health Organization for PTs into benign, borderline, and malignant is based on a combination of several histologic features. The differential diagnosis between PT and fibroadenoma and the histologic grading of PT remain challenging. In addition, the molecular pathogenesis of PT is largely unknown.

Objective: -To provide an updated overview of pathologic features, diagnostic terminology, and molecular alterations of PT.

Data sources: -Current English literature related to PT of the breast.

Conclusions: -Phyllodes tumor shows a wide spectrum of morphology. There are no clearly distinct boundaries between PT and fibroadenoma. Strict histologic assessment of a combination of histologic features with classification can help to achieve the correct diagnosis and provide useful clinical information. The genomic landscapes of PT generated from genomic sequencing provide insights into the molecular pathogenesis of PT and help to improve diagnostic accuracy and identify potential drug targets in malignant PT.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fibroadenoma / diagnosis*
  • Fibroadenoma / metabolism
  • Fibroadenoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Phyllodes Tumor / diagnosis*
  • Phyllodes Tumor / metabolism
  • Phyllodes Tumor / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor