Breast cancer


Last author update: 1 August 2012
Last staff update: 4 March 2021

Copyright: 2002-2022,, Inc.

PubMed search: Inflammatory carcinoma [title] breast

Monika Roychowdhury, M.D.
Page views in 2021: 4,896
Page views in 2022 to date: 3,496
Cite this page: Roychowdhury M. Inflammatory. website. Accessed August 17th, 2022.
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

Contributed by 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

AFIP images

Tumor in dermal lymphatics

Contributed by Weijie Li, M.D.

Inflammatory breast cancer

Images hosted on other servers:

Tumor embolus in a dermal lymphatic channel


Positive stains
Differential diagnosis
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