Cribriform carcinoma mimicking breast abscess – case report. Diagnostic and therapeutic management

Katarzyna Dobruch‑Sobczak1, Katarzyna Roszkowska‑Purska2, Eryk Chrapowicki3

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2013; 13 (53): 222–229

The authors presents a case of cribriform breast carcinoma in a cyst that clinically imitated an abscess. The case concerns a 71-year-old female patient treated for ankylosing spondylitis, with a positive family history of breast cancer. The patient presented at the surgical clinic for incision of an abscess of the mammary gland localized in the lower inner quadrant that was a consequence of previous trauma to the right breast. The abscess was incised and the serosanguineous contents were evacuated. The wound was drained and antibiotics (Dalacin with Metronidazol) were administered for the period of 10 days. During the treatment, a cutaneous fistula was formed. At the incision site, a hard thickening was palpable (tumor). Core needle biopsy of the clinically palpable tumor was performed and the purulent material from the fistula was collected for a culture test. Complete blood count did not reveal leucocytosis. In accordance with the obtained sensitivity report, the patient was started on antibiotics again. Breast ultrasound performed upon the completion of the antibiotic therapy, in the right breast, revealed two solidcystic oval lesions with thick echogenic walls and blurred margins. Both masses contained dense levels of fluid material and solid polycyclic structures. On sonoelastography, the lesions were heterogeneous with a high Young’s modulus. In the right axillary fossa, ultrasound examination revealed three abnormal lymph nodes enlarged to 31 mm length, which were rounded, hypoechoic and without visible sinuses. Histopathology of the core needle biopsy performed at admittance and after the antibiotic therapy indicated a breast abscess (presence of fibrinous and partly fibrinopurulent material). The mass was finally resected to confirm histopathology. The resected material revealed the presence of an invasive, moderately differentiated cribriform carcinoma, which developed within a cyst, with a 40% necrotic component. Eighteen months after the commencement of treatment, the patient remains under oncological supervision and continues hormonal therapy. There are no signs of relapse or foci of distant metastases. The occurrence of breast carcinoma within an abscess emphasises the need for comprehensive assessment and correlation of the clinical picture with imaging and histopathological findings. It also highlights the necessity to include breast abscess in the differential diagnosis of rare forms of carcinomas.

breast carcinoma, breast abscess, cribriform breast carcinoma, sonography, histopathological examination, breast sonoelastography