Other carcinoma subtypes, not WHO classified

Cystic hypersecretory carcinoma

Last author update: 1 October 2012
Last staff update: 16 August 2022

Copyright: 2001-2023,, Inc.

PubMed search: cystic hypersecretory [title] carcinoma breast invasive

Monika Roychowdhury, M.D.
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Cite this page: Roychowdhury M. Cystic hypersecretory carcinoma. website. Accessed October 2nd, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Not part of WHO breast classification
  • First described in 1984 (Am J Surg Pathol 1984;8:31)
  • Very rare (< 100 cases reported)
  • DCIS or hyperplasia is more common
Clinical features
  • Usually low grade for several years but may metastasize
Case reports
Gross description
  • Numerous cysts with mucoid or gelatinous secretions
Gross images

Contributed by Dr. Okechukwu C. Okafor

Mastectomy with 12 cm multicystic tumor

Images hosted on other servers:

Numerous cysts with a gelatinous secretion

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Cystic dilation of ducts containing colloid-like eosinophilic material that often retracts from epithelium
  • Epithelium focally has micropapillary DCIS
  • Also invasion of surrounding stroma by nests of carcinoma, which may be high grade, usually without hypersecretory characteristics
  • Extravasation of cyst material into stroma is not invasion
Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images

Poorly differenti-
ated carcinoma
invades stroma
next to cyst

Low power shows
prominent cysts with
no apparent ducts
containing carcinoma

Associated micropapillary DCIS, invasion elsewhere

Associated micropapillary DCIS with no
evident secretion in tumor cells, which have
a hobnail appearance, nuclei are relatively
clear with small, discrete nucleoli

Associated micropap-
illary DCIS with sparse
secretion that is re-
tracted from epithelium

Cysts lined by flat cuboidal epithelium contain
homogeneous secretions, these cysts are
nonspecific - they can be found in cystic
hypersecretory hyperplasia or carcinoma

Axillary nodal
metastases, with
some cells exhib-
iting clear nuclei

Note transition in cyst epithelium with plaque of tumor cells
in bottom half, micropapillary pattern is obscured where carcinoma
nearly fills ducts, but traces of retracted secretion remain
(arrows), clear nuclei are also evident, even at this magnification

Contributed by Dr. Okechukwu C. Okafor

12 cm tumor

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Cytology description
Differential diagnosis
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