Preoperative and intraoperative diagnosis of low-grade adenosquamous carcinoma of the breast: potential diagnostic pitfalls

Department of Pathology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore.
Histopathology (Impact Factor: 3.3). 01/2007; 49(6):603-11. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2006.02524.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Low-grade adenosquamous carcinoma (LGAC), a rare variant of metaplastic breast cancer, may mimic benign or other low-grade malignant lesions histologically. Diagnostic difficulty may be encountered when evaluating breast cytology, core needle biopsy or intraoperative frozen section specimens.
Pathology reports, cytology aspirates and histological slides of LGAC diagnosed at the Department of Pathology, Singapore General Hospital, were reviewed. Four cases of LGAC were analysed. Cytology from the first case showed atypical cells and the subsequent surgical excision specimen showed a complex sclerosing lesion with LGAC. The second and third cases were investigated by core needle biopsies: the preoperative histological features were suggestive of but not diagnostic of LGAC, until further excision biopsies were performed. The fourth case entailed a frozen section specimen, for which definitive diagnosis was deferred to paraffins. The patients remained well with no evidence of recurrent disease to date.
When limited material, in the form of needle aspirates, core biopsy specimens or frozen sections, is submitted for histology, making a diagnosis of LGAC is not only challenging, but may be impossible. In difficult cases, careful pathological assessment, clinicopathological correlation and follow-up or complete excision biopsy may prove invaluable in establishing a definitive diagnosis.