Breast - nonmalignant
Inflammatory / infectious
Plasma cell mastitis

Topic Completed: 1 April 2010

Revised: 14 January 2019

Copyright: (c) 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Plasma cell mastitis breast
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Cite this page: Nassar H Plasma cell mastitis. website. Accessed April 19th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Considered a variant of periductal mastitis / duct ectasia with prominent plasma cell component
  • Very few recent articles in English medical literature using this terminology
  • Plasma cell infiltrate may be due to retained milk secretions
  • Associated with pregnancy, occurs a mean 4 years after cessation of lactation
Clinical features
  • Firm mass, 2 - 3 cm, with nipple discharge and retraction
  • Often axillary adenopathy
  • Resembles carcinoma clinically
Case reports
  • Excision to avoid ulceration and fistulas which may develop after partial removal
Clinical images

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Plasma cell mastitis

Gross description
  • Dilated ducts with creamy secretion
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Hyperplasia of ductal epithelium with markedly diffuse plasma cell infiltrate of ducts and lobules
  • Often granulomatous reaction
Microscopic (histologic) images

Infiltrate of plasma cells, macrophages, lymphocytes

Cytology description
  • Prominent plasma cells and histiocytes
  • Also hyperplastic epithelial cells
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