Metastatic carcinoma to the male and female breast

Australas Radiol. 1998 Feb;42(1):16-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1673.1998.tb00556.x.


Metastases to the female breast are rare and those to the male breast are even rarer. Differentiating primary from metastatic breast carcinoma is important for rational therapy and avoidance of unnecessary radical surgery. Data on five women and two men with metastases to the breast are presented here. The primary tumours in these seven cases were as follows: three bronchogenic carcinoma and one each from papillary adenocarcinoma of the ovary, adenocarcinoma of the colon, squamous cell carcinoma of the nasal cavity and squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix. In both men (who had primary lung carcinoma), mammograms showed dense glandular tissue occupying nearly the entire breast. All five women had multiple nodules. Two of these cases were unilateral and three were bilateral. The metastatic nodules were round, with slightly irregular or ill-defined margins and calcification in the single case from metastatic papillary adenocarcinoma of the ovary. Ultrasonograms demonstrated well-circumscribed low-echoic masses in all cases. In a patient with known extramammary malignancy and a breast mass, mammograms and ultrasonograms should be undertaken to exclude a primary breast carcinoma and for proper management.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Breast Neoplasms, Male / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / secondary*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nose Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology