Tubular carcinoma of the breast: mammographic appearance.

Research paper by A J AJ Leibman, M M Lewis, B B Kruse

Indexed on: 01 Feb '93Published on: 01 Feb '93Published in: AJR. American journal of roentgenology


Tubular carcinoma of the breast is an uncommon malignant growth that can have subtle mammographic findings. Tubular carcinoma is usually found incidentally during screening mammography. It can be differentiated from conventional breast cancers by its smallness and the lack of palpable findings on physical examination of the breast. The mammographic findings in patients with pure tubular carcinoma (90% tubular formation or greater on histologic examination) have not been reported in the recent radiologic literature.We reviewed the mammographic and sonographic findings and clinical histories of 13 patients with biopsy-proved pure tubular carcinoma. Findings on physical examination of the breast were normal in nine patients.On mammograms, 11 of the 13 tubular carcinomas appeared as small (1.7-cm diameter or less) spiculated masses. The average tumor diameter measured on mammograms was 0.8 cm in patients with normal results of physical examination of the breasts and 1.2 cm in patients with a palpable mass. In two patients, mammography showed suspicious microcalcifications or normal findings. Sonography was performed in three patients and results were normal.Tubular carcinoma of the breast manifests mammographically as a small spiculated mass. Because of their smallness, tubular carcinomas can be differentiated from other forms of infiltrating ductal carcinoma on mammograms. Tubular carcinomas are most frequently found incidentally at screening mammography. With the growing emphasis on screening mammography, an increase in the detection of this form of breast cancer can be expected.