Journal of Cytology
Home About us Ahead of print Instructions Submission Subscribe Advertise Contact e-Alerts Login 
Users Online:627
  Print this page  Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size

 Table of Contents    
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 58-59
Preoperative cytological diagnosis of mucinous carcinoma (MC) of male breast

Department of Pathology, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication2-Feb-2016

How to cite this article:
Pawar PS, Poflee SV, Pande NP, Shrikhande AV. Preoperative cytological diagnosis of mucinous carcinoma (MC) of male breast. J Cytol 2016;33:58-9

How to cite this URL:
Pawar PS, Poflee SV, Pande NP, Shrikhande AV. Preoperative cytological diagnosis of mucinous carcinoma (MC) of male breast. J Cytol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Jun 28];33:58-9. Available from:


Male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of all cancers in men and less than 1% of breast cancers. [1] The most frequent type is invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), however, the occurrence of mucinous carcinoma (MC) (Gelatinous/Colloid) is extremely rare in the male breast with very few reports on cytodiagnosis. [2],[3]

We report a case of MC diagnosed preoperatively on the basis of cytology findings. A 60-year-old male with slowly enlarging, subareolar lump in left breast was referred for fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) presuming it to be gynecomastia. He had no other complaints, no history of any major illness in the past. The breast swelling was 1 cm × 1 cm, well-defined, mobile and firm in consistency. Cytology smears revealed moderate cellularity in the background of abundant mucinous material and chicken wire-like blood vessels [Figure 1]a]. The cells were seen in groups, dispersed individually, showed moderate cytoplasm, large, round to oval eccentric nuclei with regular nuclear membrane, granular chromatin and one to two prominent nucleoli [Figure 1]b]. Cytodiagnosis of MC was offered. Preoperative mammography and sonography revealed lobulated, hyperechoic mass in the central part of the left breast. On extensive clinical and radiological study, no mass lesion was found at any other body site. The patient's modified radical mastectomy specimen showed a subareolar glistening white, firm tumor, of size 1.5 cm × 1.5 cm, along with six subcentimetric lymph nodes and axillary fat. Histopathology sections revealed malignant cells arranged in groups and cords within pools of mucin. Lymph nodes did not show evidence of metastasis. The diagnosis of primary MC of the breast was confirmed.
Figure 1: (a) Cytology smear showing abundant mucin and chicken wire blood vessels (MGG, ×100) (b) Cytology smears highlighting individual cell characteristics (H and E, ×400)

Click here to view

Depending upon the amount of mucin and cell type, MC can be of pure type or mixed type with concomitant presence of mucinous and other (IDC) element. [3] The prognosis of pure MC is much better than for a mixed one. [2]

Male breast cancers are more likely to be high grade with retained expression of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) and less likely to overexpress Erb-B2 and p53. [4] Standard treatment for male breast cancer is modified radical mastectomy with sentinel lymph node biopsy followed by tamoxifen for endocrine-responsive positive disease. [1]

It is most important to differentiate between primary MC from secondary MC coming from internal organs in the male breast. Clinical, cytohistomorphological, radiological findings, and immunohistochemistry are of immense help in this differentiation.

To conclude, as diagnostic cytological features remain similar for MC occurring in male or female breast, reliable preoperative cytological diagnosis is possible.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Korde LA, Zujewski JA, Kamin L, Giordano S, Domchek S, Anderson WF, et al. Multidisciplinary meeting on male breast cancer: Summary and research recommendations. J Clin Oncol 2010;28:2114-22.   Back to cited text no. 1
Aggarwal R, Rajni, Khanna G, Beg S. Mucinous carcinoma in a male breast. J Cytol 2011;28:84-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Nayak SK, Naik R, Upadhyaya K, Raghuveer CV, Pai MR. FNAC diagnosis of mucinous carcinoma of male breast - A case report. Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2001;44:355-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Muir D, Kanthan R, Kanthan SC. Male versus female breast cancers. A population-based comparative immunohistochemical analysis. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2003;127:36-41.  Back to cited text no. 4

Correspondence Address:
Prajkta Suresh Pawar
Flat No. 411, Honey Archana Complex, Untakhana Road, Nagpur - 440 009, Maharashtra
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9371.175531

Rights and Permissions


  [Figure 1]

This article has been cited by
1 Palliative surgery for giant mucinous carcinoma of the breast in an elderly patient: A rare case report
Haruko Takuwa,Wakako Tsuji,Fumiaki Yotsumoto
Molecular and Clinical Oncology. 2017; 7(4): 609
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded91    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal