Granulomatous mastitis: etiology, imaging, pathology, treatment, and clinical findings

David S. Barreto, Emily L. Sedgwick, Chandandeep S. Nagi, Ana Paula Benveniste

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose: To outline the demographics, clinical presentation, imaging features, and treatment modalities observed among a series of patients diagnosed with biopsy-proven granulomatous mastitis (GM). Method: Following approval by institutional review board, retrospective chart review was performed on patients with biopsy-proven granulomatous mastitis at our institution in the period from January 2013 until October 2017. Results: A total of 90 patients were identified: 87 women and 3 men. The mean age was 35 years, mostly women in their reproductive age. In our study, patients with GM were more likely to be Hispanic compared to the general population. Sixty-three percent of patients were within 5 years of previous pregnancy. Painful palpable mass-like lesion was the most common physical finding. Breast ultrasound (US) was performed in all patients, and most commonly showed a hypoechoic irregular-shaped mass. Mammography (MG) showed asymmetry or irregular mass as the main finding. Definitive diagnosis was obtained by imaging-guided core needle biopsies in 94.4%. Conservative management was preferred, and only one patient underwent surgery. Conclusion: Although clinical and radiological findings of patients with GM may mimic those of breast carcinoma, our study showed that women of childbearing age, especially among Hispanic ethnicity with a recent history of pregnancy or high prolactin level and newly tender mass-like lesion, in addition to new focal asymmetry on mammogram and heterogeneous hypoechoic irregular-shaped mass on ultrasound exam, should raise concern for GM. Non-invasive approach and clinical follow-up were the preferred treatment method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-534
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Breast cancer
  • Breast imaging
  • Breast mass
  • Granulomatous mastitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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