Other invasive carcinoma subtypes, WHO classified

Mucinous cystadenocarcinoma

Last author update: 1 September 2012
Last staff update: 8 March 2021

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PubMed search: mucinous cystadenocarcinoma breast and columnar cell mucinous [title] carcinoma breast

Monika Roychowdhury, M.D.
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Cite this page: Roychowdhury M. Mucinous cystadenocarcinoma. website. Accessed November 29th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Very rare as primary breast tumor (< 50 cases reported)
  • Carcinoma composed of tall columnar cells with basal, bland nuclei and abundant intracytoplasmic and extracytoplasmic mucin (as opposed to mucinous / colloid carcinoma with only extracellular mucin, and signet ring cell carcinoma with only intracellular mucin)
  • Either grossly cystic (mucinous cystadenocarcinoma) or solid (columnar cell mucinous carcinoma)
  • Resembles similar tumors of ovary, pancreas and appendix (Am J Surg Pathol 1998;22:698)
  • Mean age 58 - 68 years, range 49 - 96 years
Case reports
Gross description
  • Multicystic, up to 19 cm
  • Resembles ovarian and pancreatic cystadenocarcinoma, cystic hypersecretory carcinoma of breast
Gross images

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Ovary - multicystic tumor

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Cystic spaces lined by bland, tall columnar cells with abundant intracytoplasmic mucin
  • Tumor cells exhibit stratification, tufting and papillary formation
  • Variable cytologic atypia
  • Gradual loss of intracytoplasmic mucin and transformation to eosinophilic squamoid cells that are focally invasive
  • Columnar cell variant has round and convoluted glands in loose aggregates, lined by tall columnar mucinous epithelium with basal bland nuclei
  • Demonstrates both intracellular and extracellular mucin
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Mucinous cystadenocarcinoma of breast with estrogen receptor expression

Retroperitoneal tumor

Positive stains
Negative stains
Differential diagnosis
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