Breast inflammatory gigantomastia in a context of immune-mediated diseases

Department of Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine, Hôpital Necker, 149, rue de Sèvres, 75743 Paris Cedex 15, France.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism (Impact Factor: 6.31). 10/2005; 90(9):5287-94. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2005-0642
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Localized breast lesions have been described in lupic or diabetic patients. However, the description of breast gigantomastia in women presenting with autoimmune diseases has not been reported.
The study took place within the Department of Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine, Necker Hospital, Paris, France.
We describe eight patients with inflammatory gigantomastia, occurring in a context of immune-mediated diseases: myasthenia, chronic arthritis, or thyroiditis.
Together with hormonal, immunological, and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evaluation, breast histology enabled us to perform immunocytochemical and indirect immunofluorescence studies. Control sera were obtained from patients with (n = 10) and without (n = 7) antinuclear antibodies.
Six of the eight patients developed gigantomastia either at puberty or during pregnancy. Neither a hormonal oversecretion nor a specific immunological pattern was observed. All patients except one presented antinuclear antibodies. Histological study revealed a diffuse, stromal hyperplasia and a severe atrophy of the lobules. A rarefaction of adipocytes was also noted, as previously suggested on MRI. There was a perilobular lymphocytic infiltrate made of CD3+ lymphocytes. Study of sera from five of six cases of gigantomastia showed a nuclear immunofluorescence pattern in normal mammary ductal and lobular glandular epithelium, as well as in kidney and intestine epithelial cells. In control sera, a nuclear signal was observed only when antinuclear antibodies were present.
We suggest that breast tissue may be a target tissue in autoimmune diseases, this process being favored by the hormonal milieu. However, the precise mechanism of such association is not individualized. The fact that stromal hyperplasia is the main histological feature justifies the search for the involvement of growth factors in such a process.

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