Breast tuberculosis in men: A systematic review

PLoS One. 2018 Apr 3;13(4):e0194766. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194766. eCollection 2018.


Setting: Breast tuberculosis in male is a rarely reported and poorly described condition.

Objective: To quantify the number of breast tuberculosis in men, to describe clinical presentation and to present the diagnostic and therapeutic procedures applied.

Design: A systematic review of the literature including reports published in English, Spanish and French until December 2017.

Results: The search yielded 26 cases of male breast tuberculosis, median age 56.5 years. Most presented with an isolated breast lump (89%), associated with axillary lymphadenitis (27.8%) and skin inflammation (33.3%). The most common constitutional symptoms were pain (64.7%) and fever (35.3%). Fine-needle aspiration cytology and culture were the most common diagnostic modality (61.5%). Standard anti-tuberculosis regimen was the main treatment, alone or accompanied or preceded by incision and drainage.

Conclusions: The risk of breast tuberculosis in men appears to be low, but the condition can be difficult to diagnose and the diagnostic delays can be long. Overall prognosis is good following standard anti-tuberculosis regimen with or without incision/drainage.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis
  • Breast Diseases / epidemiology
  • Breast Diseases / microbiology*
  • Breast Diseases / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Geography, Medical
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Publication Bias
  • Sex Factors
  • Symptom Assessment
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology*
  • Tuberculosis / therapy