What are the histologic characteristics of phyllode tumors of the breast?

Updated: May 24, 2018
  • Author: Peter Abdelmessieh, DO, MSc; Chief Editor: Marie Catherine Lee, MD, FACS  more...
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Phyllodes tumors rare tumors of the breast, accounting for less than 1% of breast tumors. The name "phyllodes," which is taken from the Greek language and means "leaflike," refers to that fact that the tumor cells grow in a leaflike pattern. These tumors may be considered benign, borderline, or malignant depending on the following histologic features:

Malignant phyllodes tumours behave like sarcomas and are known to develop hematogenous metastases. Occurrence is most common in premenopausal women age 40 and 50. The hematogenous spread of this subtype of breast cancer makes wide local excisional biopsy paramount, as chemotherapy or radiation are not effective in recurrent or metastatic disease. 

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