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What Are the Imaging Features of Breast Lymphomas?

January 8, 2008
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging
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The objective of a recent study was to retrospectively review 32 breast lymphomas from a single academic institution to define their imaging features.
The results have shown that breast lymphomas have suspicious features on all imaging modalities.

The study included 32 biopsy-proven lymphomas of the breast. Imaging features of mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and PET/CT were reviewed.

In the study, there were 21 primary breast lymphomas and 11 secondary breast lymphomas. The majority of lymphomas manifested as palpable masses. Mean tumor size was 2.9 cm. Mean age of patients was 51 years.

The most common mammographic features of breast lymphoma were hyperdense or isodense non-calcified solitary lobular masses with indistinct margins.

The most common sonographic features of breast lymphomas were hypoechoic irregular masses with indistinct margins. MRI of the breast was performed only on 1 of 32 tumors.

MRI findings were lobular masses that were heterogeneously hyperintense on T2-weighted images with rapid initial enhancement and washout kinetics.

Most lymphomas showed diffuse and intense (mean SUV, 10.6) uptake on PET/CT images.

There was 1 false-negative result and no false-positive Results on PET/CT. The majority of lymphomas consisted of diffuse large-B-cell lymphomas.

Reviewer’s Comments
Lymphomas of the breast, although uncommon, are most commonly seen as masses with suspicious features on mammogram, ultrasound, MRI, and PET/CT.

Reviewer’s Comments
Both primary and secondary lymphomas of the breast are uncommon. However, it is important for radiologists to recognize different imaging features and to consider the diagnosis of lymphoma.

Lymphomas of the breast most commonly manifest as palpable solitary masses with suspicious imaging features on all imaging modalities that require tissue sampling. Additional imaging features of lymphomas include nonpalpable multiple masses, asymmetries, and axillary lymphadenopathies.

Author: Bokran Won, MD

Yang WT, Lane DL, et al. Breast Lymphoma: Imaging Findings of 32 Tumors in 27 Patients.
Radiology; 2007; 245 (December): 692-702

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