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CASE REPORT
Year : 2007  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 90-93 Table of Contents   

Bilateral tubercular mastitis


1 Department of pulmonary Medicine, K G M U Lucknow-226003., India
2 Department of Pathology, K G M U Lucknow-226003., India

Correspondence Address:
Surya Kant
Department of pulmonary Medicine, K G M U Lucknow-226003.
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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   Abstract 

Breast tuberculosis is a rare form of tuberculosis. Moreover the disease is often overlooked and misdiagnosed as carcinoma or pyogenic abscess. Reports on breast tuberculosis from India have been few; reported incidence of breast tuberculosis amongst the total number of mammary conditions varies between 0.64 and 3.59 per cent. Bilateral involvement is still more uncommon (3%). Most accepted view for spread of infection is centripetal lymphatic spread as axillary node involvement was shown to occur in 50 to 75 per cent of cases of tubercular mastitis. Here we re­port a case of a young female who presented with draining sinuses in the breast and no axillary lymphadenopathy. Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of breast lump showed evidence of granulomatous mastitis. She was given therapeutic trial of four drug antitubercular treatment. Both the lump disappeared and sinus healed after six months of antitubercular treatment. Thus a retrospective diagnosis of tu­bercular mastitis was made.

Keywords: Mastitis, Tuberculosis.


How to cite this article:
Kant S, Dua R, Goel M M. Bilateral tubercular mastitis. Lung India 2007;24:90-3

How to cite this URL:
Kant S, Dua R, Goel M M. Bilateral tubercular mastitis. Lung India [serial online] 2007 [cited 2019 Aug 18];24:90-3. Available from: http://www.lungindia.com/text.asp?2007/24/3/90/44222


   Introduction Top


Breast tuberculosis is a rare form of tuberculosis [1] . It is rare in the western countries, incidence being less than 0.1 per cent of breast lesions examined Histologically [2],[3] . But, with the global spread of AIDS, mammary tuberculosis may no longer be uncommon in the developed world (as an AIDS defining condition) [1],[4] . The incidence of tuberculosis, in general, is still quite high in India and so is expected of the breast tuberculosis. But the disease is often overlooked and misdiagnosed as carcinoma or pyogenic abscess [5] . Thus, reports on breast tuberculosis from India have been few. Several Indian series reported the incidence of breast tuberculosis amongst the total number of mammary conditions to vary between 0.64 and 3.59 per cent [6] . In another series, tuberculosis a relatively rare lesion in the breast, was observed in 18 patients (seventeen of whom were of child bearing age) with an incidence of 1.02% [7] .

The breast may become infected in a variety of ways [8] e.g., (i) haematogenous, (ii) lymphatic, (iii) spread from contiguous structures, (iv) direct inoculation, and (v) ductal infection. Of these, the most accepted view for spread of infection is centripetal lymphatic spread [6] . The path of spread of the disease from lungs to breast tissue was traced via tracheobronchial, paratracheal, mediastinal lymph trunk and internal mammary nodes [16] . According to the Cooper's theory, communication between the axillary glands and the breast results in secondary involvement of the breast by retrograde lymphatic extension [8] . Supporting this hypothesis was the fact that axillary node involvement was shown to occur in 50 to 75 per cent of cases of tubercular mastitis [9] . Breast is resistant to tuberculous infection by blood stream, even in debilitated patients of tuberculosis [10] . Occasionally, direct extension from contiguous structures such as infected rib, costochondral cartilage, sternum, shoulder joint and even through the chest wall from a tuberculous pleurisy or via abrasions in the skin can occur [11] . Coincidental tuberculosis of the faucial tonsils of suckling infants has been suggested as one of the common routes of spread of breast tuberculosis from the suckling infant to the nipple, and in turn, to the lactating breast via lacticiferous ducts [12] . In all cases, bacilli infected the ducts and spared the lobules. This may be the sole example of primary breast tuberculosis relevant even today.


   Case Summary Top


A 29 year old female presented to our department of pulmonary medicine, KGMU, Lucknow with complaint of bilateral painless breast lump for 3 months associated with fever which was low grade and not associated with chills or rigor. It was followed by discharge from the both lumps one month later. The patient had no complaint of cough or breathlessness. The patient was not breastfeeding. There was no peripheral lymphadenopathy or clubbing. There was a 2 cm sized spherical lump in the upper inner quadrant of the breast on right and lower inner on left side. Discharging sinus was present on both sides. The lumps were fixed to skin, had a smooth surface, were non tender and had no associated peau d' orange appearance. Her respiratory system was within normal limits on examination. The counts and Chest X-ray were within normal limits. She was given adequate trial of antibiotics without any response. The FNAC of breast lump showed evidence of granulomatous mastitis. Her mantoux test showed an induration of 12 mm. On the basis of her clinical presentation mantoux test and FNAC report she was given therapeutic trial of four drug (rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide and ethambutol) antitubercular treatment. Both the lump disappeared and sinus healed after six months of institution of antitubercular treatment. Thus a retrospective diagnosis of tubercular mastitis was made.


   Discussion Top


The history of the presenting symptoms in breast tuberculosis is usually less than a year but varies from few months to several years [13],[14]. Breast tuberculosis commonly affects women in their reproductive age group [19] , between 21-30 yr, similar to the highest incidence of pulmonary tuberculosis reported in the same age group of females [14] .This may be because the female breast undergoes frequent changes during the period of activity and is more liable to trauma and infection [13] . In pregnant and lactating women, the breast is vascular with dilated ducts, predisposed to trauma making it more susceptible to tubercular infection [15],[16] . It is uncommon in prepubescent females and elderly women [17] . Bilateral involvement is uncommon (3%) [15] . Breast tuberculosis most commonly presents as a lump [12],[18] in the central or upper outer quadrant of the breast [20] . In our patient the lumps were present in the upper inner quadrant on right and lower inner quadrant on left. Tubercular mastitis is probably due to frequent extension of tuberculosis from axillary nodes to the breast. But the lump is usually painful. Breast remains mobile unless involvement is secondary to tuberculosis of the underlying chest wall [15] . Tubercular ulcer over the breast skin and tubercular breast abscess with or without discharging sinuses are other common forms of clinical presentation of breast tuberculosis [14] . Peau d' orange is often seen in patients with extensive axillary nodal tuberculosis. Purulent nipple discharge or persistent discharging sinus may be the rare presenting feature. Our patient presented with bilateral draining sinuses. Breast tuberculosis was first classified into five different types by Mckeown and Wilkinson [16] : (i) Nodular tubercular mastitis, (ii) Disseminated or confluent tubercular mastitis, (iii) Sclerosing tubercular mastitis, (iv) Tuberculous mastitis obliterans, and (v) Acute miliary tubercular mastitis. There are hardly enough reports in the past two decades to merit the sclerosing tubercular mastitis, tuberculous mastitis obliterans and acute miliary tubercular mastitis in the classification of breast tuberculosis. Thus at present, breast tuberculosis may be reclassified as nodular, disseminated and abscess varieties. The sclerosing type, mastitis obliterans and miliary variety are of historical importance only. Our patient belonged to the abscess variety.


   Diagnosis Top


Diagnosis warrants a high index of suspicion on clinical examination and pathological or microbiological confirmation of all suspected lesions. Mantoux test is usually positive in adults in endemic area for tuberculosis and is of not great help for diagnosis of breast tuberculosis. The modern radiological investigations help in defining the extent of the lesion rather than in diagnosis. Sophisticated radiological tools like mammography, computed tomography (CT-scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast have been extensively explored for the diagnosis of breast tuberculosis but of no avail.

Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) from the breast lesion continues to remain an important diagnostic tool of breast tuberculosis [1] . Approximately 73per cent cases of breast tuberculosis can be diagnosed on FNAC when both epitheloid cell granulomas and necrosis are present [1] . Failure to demonstrate necrosis on FNAC does not exclude tuberculosis in view of small quantity of the sample harvested and examined. The demonstration of acid-fast bacilli (AFB) on FNAC is not mandatory, since for AFB to be seen microscopically, their number must be 10,000- 100,000/ml of material. AFB negative breast abscess that fail to heal despite adequate drainage and antibiotic therapy, and those with persistent discharging sinuses should raise suspicion of underlying tuberculosis. In our case patient was given adequate trial of antibiotics without any response. In a country like India, the diagnosis of Idiopathic granulomatous mastitis must be made with caution, even in the absence of AFB. Only after a sufficient trial of antituberculosis treatment has been given and the patient fails to respond should an alternative diagnosis be suggested [21] .

Though mycobacterial culture remains the gold standard for diagnosis of tuberculosis, the time required and frequent negative results in paucibacillary specimens are important limitations. Moreover, culture is not always helpful in the diagnosis of breast tuberculosis [18] . In our case also culture gets contaminated. Histological findings include epitheloid cell granulomas with caseous necrosis in the specimen. Core needle biopsy yields a good sample often yielding a positive diagnosis. However, open biopsy (incision or excision) of breast lump, ulcer, sinus or from the wall of a suspected tubercular breast abscess cavity almost always confirms breast tuberculosis [1],[16] . Histologically, tubercular mastitis is a form of granulomatous inflammation. In this patient also biopsy was suggested but patient and her attendants refused for the procedure.

Polymerage Chain Reaction in the diagnosis of breast tuberculosis is less often reported, mostly as a tool to distinguish tubercular mastitis from other forms of granulomatous mastitis in selected reports [22] . However, PCR is by no means absolute in diagnosing tubercular infection and false negative reports are still a possibility [23] .


   Treatment Top


The treatment of breast tuberculosis consists of anti­tubercular chemotherapy (ATT) and surgery with specific indications. ATT is the backbone of treatment of breast tuberculosis [24] . This patient also responded very well to antitubercular treatment. Rather due to effective response to antitubercular treatment retrospectively the diagnosis of tubercular mastitis could be made. The overall prognosis is good with adequate medical treatment [15] . However, minimal surgical intervention is required for drainage of breast abscess or biopsy from the abscess wall, scraping of sinuses in the breast, incisional or excisional biopsy [15],[16] . However this patient responded very well to ATT thus no surgical intervention was required.

Replies to Comments

  1. Culture for mycobacterium tuberculosis was sent but report came out to be contaminated.
  2. In a country like India, the diagnosis of Idiopathic granulomatous mastitis must be made with caution even in the absence of AFB. Only after a sufficient trial of antituberculosis treatment has been given and the patient fails to respond then only alternative diagnosis should be suggested.
  3. Diagnosis part which was lengthy has been cut short.
  4. Reference has also been cut short.
  5. Full forms of abbreviations have been added.[Figure 1],[Figure 2]


 
   References Top

1.Kakkar S, Kapila K, Singh MK, Verma K. Tuberculosis of the breast. A cytomorphologic study. Acta Cytol 2000; 44: 292-6.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.O'Reilly M, Patel KR, Cummins R. Tuberculosis of the breast presenting as carcinoma. Mil Med 2000; 165: 800-2. 4. Al-Marri MR, Almosleh A, Almoslmani Y. Primary tuberculosis of the breast in Qatarr ten year experience and review of the literature. Eur J Surg 2000; 166: 687-90.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Fujii T, Kimura M, Yanagita Y, Koida T, Kuwano H. Tuberculosis of axillary lymph nodes with primary breast cancer. Breast Cancer 2003; 10 : 175-8.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Verfaillie G, Goossens A, Lamote J. Atypical mycobacterium breast infection. Breast J 2004; 10: 60.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Dharkar RS, Kanhere MH, Vaishya ND, Baisarya AK. Tuberculosis of the breast. J Indian Med Assoc 1968;50 : 207-9.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Gupta R, Gupta AS, Duggal N. Tubercular mastitis. Int Surg 1982 Oct-Dec;•67(4 Suppl)422-4  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Domingo C, Ruiz j, Roig j, Texido A, Aguilar X, Morera J. Tuberculosis of the breast: a rare modern disease. Tubercle 1990;71 : 221-3.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Sharma PK, Babel AL, Yadav SS. Tuberculosis of breast (study of 7 cases). J Postgrad Med 1991; 37 : 24-6.  Back to cited text no. 8  [PUBMED]  Medknow Journal
9.Mckeown KC, Wilkinson KW. Tuberculous diseases of the breast. Br J Surg 1952; 39 : 420.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Symmers St. WC. The Breasts. In: W St C Symmers, editor. Systemic pathology. 2nd ed. vol. 4. New York: Churchill   Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Hale JA, Peters GN, Cheek JH. Tuberculosis of the breast: rare but still exist. Review of the literature and report of an additional case. Am J Surg 1985; 150 : 620-4.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.Gupta R, Gupta AS, Duggal N. Tubercular Mastitis. Int Surg 1982; 67 : 422-4.  Back to cited text no. 12    
13.Dubey MM, Agrawal S. Tuberculosis of the breast. J Indian Med Assoc 1968; 51 : 358-9.  Back to cited text no. 13    
14.Shukla HS, Kumar S. Benign breast disorders in nonwestern populations: Part II - Benign breast disorders in India. World J Surg 1989; 13 : 746-9.  Back to cited text no. 14    
15.Banerjee SN, Ananthakrishnan N, Mehta RB, Prakash S. Tuberculous mastitis: a continuing problem. World J Surg 1987; 11 : 105-9.  Back to cited text no. 15    
16.Shinde SR, Chandawarkar RY, Deshmukh SP. Tuberculosis of the breast masquerading as carcinoma: a study of 100 patients. World J Surg 1995; 19 : 379-81.  Back to cited text no. 16    
17.Hamit HF, Ragsdale TH. Mammary tuberculosis. J R Soc Med 1982; 75 : 764-5.  Back to cited text no. 17    
18.Alagaratnam TT, Ong GB. Tuberculosis of the breast. Br J Surg 1980; 67 : 125-6.  Back to cited text no. 18    
19.Oh KK, Kim JH, Kook SH. Imaging of tuberculous disease involving breast. Eur Radiol 1998; 8: 1475-80.  Back to cited text no. 19    
20.Bhatt GM, Austin HM. CT demonstration of empyema necessitates. J Comput Assist Tomogr 1985; 9: 1108-09.  Back to cited text no. 20    
21.Gupta D, Rajwanshi A, Gupta SK, et al. Fine needle aspiration cytology in the diagnosis of tubercular mastitis. Acta cytol 1999 Mar-Apr,43(2):191-4.  Back to cited text no. 21    
22.Tse GM, Poon CS, Ramachandram K, Ma TK, Pang LM, Law BK, et al. Granulomatous mastitis: a clinicopathological review of 26 cases. Pathology 2004; 36: 254-7.  Back to cited text no. 22    
23.Katoch VM. Newer diagnostic techniques for tuberculosis. Indian J Med Res 2004; 120: 418-28.  Back to cited text no. 23    
24.Elmrabet F, Ferhati D, Amenssag L, Kharbach A, Chaoui A. Breast tuberculosis. Med Trop (Mars) 2002; 62: 77-80.  Back to cited text no. 24    


    Figures

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