What are the histologic characteristics of mammary Paget disease (MPD)?

Updated: May 24, 2018
  • Author: Peter Abdelmessieh, DO, MSc; Chief Editor: Marie Catherine Lee, MD, FACS  more...
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Mammary Paget disease (MPD) is relatively rare, constituting 1-4% of all breast cancers. Peak incidence is seen in the sixth decade of life (mean age, 57 years).

This adenocarcinoma is localized within the epidermis of the nipple-areola complex and is composed of the histologic hallmark Paget cells within the basement membrane. Paget cells are large, pale epithelial cells with hyperchromatic, atypical nuclei, dispersed between the keratinocytes singly or as a cluster of cells.

Lesions are predominantly unilateral, developing insidiously as a scaly, fissured, oozing, or erythematous nipple-areola complex. Retraction or ulceration of the nipple is often noted, along with symptoms of itching, tingling, burning, or pain.

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