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Vol. 56, No. 1, 2012
Issue release date: January–February
Acta Cytologica 2012;56:85–91

Lymphoepithelioma-Like Carcinoma of the Breast: Cytological and Histological Features and Review of the Literature

Trihia H. · Siatra H. · Gklisty H. · Diamantopoulos P. · Arapantoni-Dadiotis P. · Kalogerakos K.
aDepartment of Pathology and bBreast Unit, ‘Metaxas’ Anticancer Hospital, Piraeus, Greece

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Objective: We present, for the first time, the cytological features of lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma (LELC) of the breast in preoperative fine-needle aspiration (FNA) and touch imprints from secondary deposits in the sentinel lymph node (SLN). Study Design: We report a case of a 53-year-old woman who was diagnosed with breast carcinoma on preoperative FNA and was subjected to SLN biopsy, partial mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection. The final diagnosis was LELC of the breast. Cytological and histological features were analyzed. Results: The smears from preoperative FNA contained cohesive clusters and isolated tumour cells in a haemorrhagic background with scattered lymphocytes. Some of the clusters were infiltrated by the inflammatory cells. The cells had large, pleomorphic nuclei and scanty, ill-defined cytoplasm. The intraoperative touch imprints from the SLN were highly cellular, comprising abundant scattered lymphoid cells, among which were tight clusters of indistinct cells, about 3 times larger than the lymphocyte population. Conclusion: In our case, LELC shares many cytological features with LELC described in other organs. Immunostains with epithelial markers play an important role in establishing the epithelial nature of the neoplastic cells. LELC should be borne in mind in the evaluation of breast lesions with prominent lymphoid cell infiltration. Its cytological features, as presented, could contribute to its preoperative evaluation on cytological grounds.

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