Pregnancy-Associated Breast Cancer: Significance of Early Detection and Imaging Appearance


Donya Farrokh 1 , *

1 Department of Radiology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, IR Iran

How to Cite: Farrokh D. Pregnancy-Associated Breast Cancer: Significance of Early Detection and Imaging Appearance, Iran J Radiol. Online ahead of Print ; 11(30th Iranian Congress of Radiology):e21253. doi: 10.5812/iranjradiol.21253.


Iranian Journal of Radiology: 11 (30th Iranian Congress of Radiology); e21253
Published Online: February 28, 2014
Article Type: Research Article


Background/Objectives: To evaluate the mammographic and sonographic findings of pregnancy associated breast cancer.

Patients and Methods: In this study, we selected 25 patients who were diagnosed with pregnancy associated breast cancer during the previous 10 years. The disease was diagnosed during pregnancy (n = 5) or lactation (n = 20). All patients underwent ultrasonography, the first choice for evaluation of pregnancy associated breast disease. Mammography was performed for 22 patients.

Results: The commonest clinical symptom was a breast lump. Ultrasound was abnormal in all cases. The most common ultrasound finding was a solitary hypo echoic mass with irregular shape, irregular margin, and heterogeneous echogenicity. Architectural distortion was seen in two patients. Some unusual sonographic findings for breast cancer were detected in these patients, including parallel orientation, cystic components, and posterior enhancement. Mammography was performed for 22 patients and revealed positive findings in 80% of cases despite a dense breast. The most common mammographic finding was a breast mass with or without microcalcification (n = 10). Microcalcification alone was seen in 2 patients. Lesions, were predominantly invasive ductal carcinoma (96%).

Conclusions: Ultrasonography is recommended for the initial diagnosis of pregnancy associated breast cancer. Mammography is indicated when initial evaluation suggests a malignant lesion or when ultrasound is negative in spite of a palpable breast lesion. When the imaging results are suspicious, a biopsy should be performed to obtain a pathologic diagnosis.

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