Breast malignant, males, children
Carcinoma subtypes
Inflammatory carcinoma

Author: Monika Roychowdhury, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 27 September 2018, last major update August 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2018,, Inc.

PubMed search: Inflammatory carcinoma [title] breast

Cite this page: Roychowdhury, M. Inflammatory carcinoma. website. Accessed October 24th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • A clinical (not pathologic) diagnosis of an enlarged, erythematous and edematous breast, presumed to be due to dermal plugging of lymphatic vessels by tumor (Breast Cancer Res 2005;7:52, Wikipedia)
Clinical features
  • Mean age 53 years
  • Tumor may not be palpable on clinical exam
  • Stage T4d in TNM classification
  • Peau d'orange: lymphatics are so involved by tumor microemboli that skin drainage is blocked, causing lymphedema and thickening of skin of majority of breast
Case reports
  • Aggressive, with 5 year disease free survival < 45%, even if node negative (Arch Surg 2006;141:567)
  • Treated with neoadjuvant (preoperative) chemotherapy
Clinical images
Images hosted on PathOut server:

Courtesy of Dr. Mark R. Wick

Images hosted on other servers:

Enlarged erythematous breast

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Usually dermal plugging of lymphatics by tumor, may not be seen in small biopsies
  • No specific histology, although usually high grade ductal NOS
Microscopic (histologic) images
Images hosted on PathOut server:

Tumor in dermal lymphatics

Images hosted on other servers:

Tumor in dermal lymphatics

Tumor embolus in a dermal lymphatic channel


Flickr images:

Contributed by Weijie Li, MD

Positive stains
Differential diagnosis