Sclerotic stroma of the Breast

Sclerosis refers to a condition of 'hardening' of some kind, usually caused by an overgrowth of fibrous tissue. 'Stroma' is a general term which refers to the supportive-connective tissues surrounding or within an organ, as opposed to the more 'functional' elements.

 

benign sclerotic breast stroma

 

Sclerotic stroma, then, refers to a hardening of fibous breast tissues (collagen) but without any cancerous growth. The breast itself would typically feel 'harder' by physical touch. Sclerotic stroma frequently accompanies the develpment of a fibroadenoma. Often, a prevailing condition of sclerotic stroma can lead to the development of a radial scar, which is thought to put women at higher risk for breast cancer development.

 

breast sclerotic stroma fibroadenoma

Sclerotic stroma may create 'spicules' on a breast Xray

On mammography, spicules may be visible as a result of benign causes such as fibrous tissue buildup, lipid-filled spaces which are surrounded by histiocytes, or, by sclerotic stroma. But in malignant breast cancer lesions these spicules are more likely caused by breast tumor infiltration, periductal fibrosis, or a desmoplastic response. For this reason, mammography usually needs to be followed up by either additional imaging studies or possibly by needle biopsy, just to make sure.

 

References

  1. Bharat, R., Tanuja, S., Rajan, B., Roshni, C. Fibromatosis-like carcinoma-an unusual phenotype of a metaplastic breast tumor associated with a micropapilloma. World Journal of Surgical Oncology.(2007) Vol 5, 1. p. 24.
  2. Jacobs, Timothy. Selected Challenging Breast cases for the practicing Pathologist. Dept. of Pathology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle. WA. Sept. 2008.
  3. Franquet T, De Miguel C, Cozcolluela R, Donoso L. Spiculated lesions of the breast: mammographic-pathologic correlation. Radiographics. (July 1993) 13(4):841-52.
  4. Sapino, A., Bosco, M., Cassoni, P., Castellano, I., Arisio, R., Cserni, G., Dei Tos, AP., Fortunati, N., Catalano, MG., Bussolati, G., Estrogen receptor-bold italic beta is expressed in stromal cells of fibroadenoma and phyllodes tumors of the breast . Modern Pathology (2006) 19, 599–606.

     



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Copyright Steven B. Halls, MD Last edited 13- August-2011

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