Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) may occur after reconstructive or aesthetic breast surgery. Worldwide, approximately 1.7 million breast implant surgeries are performed each year. To date, over 500 cases of BIA-ALCL have been reported around the world, with 16 women having died. This review highlights the most important facts surrounding BIA-ALCL. There is no consensus regarding the true incidence rate of BIA-ALCL as it varies between countries, is probably significantly under-reported and is difficult to estimate due to the true number of breast prostheses used largely being unknown. BIA-ALCL develops in the breast mostly as a seroma surrounding the implant, but contained within the fibrous capsule, or more rarely as a solid mass that can become invasive infiltrating the chest wall and muscle, in some instances spreading to adjacent lymph nodes, in these cases having a far worse prognosis. The causation of BIA-ALCL remains to be established, but it has been proposed that chronic infection and/or implant toxins may be involved. What is clear is that complete capsulectomy is required for treatment of BIA-ALCL, which for early-stage disease leads to cure, whereas chemotherapy is needed for advanced-stage disease, whereby improved results have been reported with the use of brentuximab. A worldwide database for BIA-ALCL and implants should be supported by local governments.
Keywords: anaplastic large cell lymphoma; breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma; breast implants.