Comparison of metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasms to the breast and primary invasive mammary carcinomas with neuroendocrine differentiation

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasms to the breast may show considerable morphologic overlap with primary mammary carcinomas, particularly those showing evidence of neuroendocrine differentiation, and may be misdiagnosed as such. Accurate distinction between these two entities is crucial for determination of appropriate clinical management. The histologic and immunohistochemical features of metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasms to the breast were studied and compared with the features of primary invasive mammary carcinomas with neuroendocrine differentiation, which served as controls. Of the metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasms, 15 were well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors with carcinoid tumor-type morphology and 7 were poorly differentiated/high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas with small-cell or large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma morphology. The majority of the metastatic neoplasms originated in the lung and gastrointestinal tract. There were histologic similarities between metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasms and invasive mammary carcinomas with neuroendocrine differentiation, both of which exhibited neuroendocrine histologic features (nested and trabecular architecture, minimal tubular differentiation, and characteristic nuclear features). Only one case of the invasive mammary carcinomas with neuroendocrine differentiation was modified Bloom-Richardson grade 1 (largely due to minimal tubular differentiation on most such tumors), and the invasive mammary carcinomas with neuroendocrine differentiation were often associated with in situ carcinoma. Immunohistochemistry was helpful in distinguishing metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasms from invasive mammary carcinomas with neuroendocrine differentiation. Whereas the majority of invasive mammary carcinomas with neuroendocrine differentiation were positive for estrogen receptor and GATA3, metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasms were typically negative for estrogen receptor and GATA3, and metastatic well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors often showed immunoreactivity for site-specific markers. Although the histologic and immunohistochemical features of a breast tumor may raise the suspicion of a metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasm, the pathologic findings should be interpreted in the context of the clinical history and imaging findings in order to establish an accurate diagnosis.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Modern Pathology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mohanty SK; Kim SA; DeLair DF; Bose S; Laury AR; Chopra S; Mertens RB; Dhall D
  • Start Page

  • 788
  • End Page

  • 798
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 8