Revision 26 for 'Breast lymphoma'

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Breast lymphoma

Breast lymphoma refers to involvement of the breast with lymphoma.


Breast lymphomas can be either primary or secondary. Both are rare accounting for 0.3 - 1.1 % of all breast malignancies.

Primary lymphoma of the breast is less common than secondary lymphoma, and is typically a B cell type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Primary non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma of the breast represent only about 0.12 - 0.53% of all reported malignant breast tumors.

For a tumor to be labeled as a primary breast lymphoma it is required to fulfill the following criteria 5:

  • disease should be in the breast or in close proximity to breast tissue
  • no evidence of widespread disease should be there
  • no previous history of lymphoma 
  • ipsilateral lymph nodes may be involved if devloping simultaneously with primary breast tumor.

Secondary lymphoma of the breast, is also more frequently NHL than Hodgkin's lymphoma

The axillary nodes are often large. It may present either as a palpable mass or as diffuse thickening of the breast.

Radiographic features

There is no single imaging finding diagnostic of lymphoma.


It can have variable mammographic appearances but usually it manifests with a diffuse marked increase in parenchymal density (often can be bilateral).


The sonographic appearance is most often that of a solid hypoechoic mass which is again non specific.

Both radiologic and clinical appearance are similar to carcinoma and therefore the differential diagnosis is difficult. Microcalcifications are not a usual feature in lymphoma. 

See also

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