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Minjung Jung 1 Article
Mucinous carcinoma of the breast: distinctive histopathologic and genetic characteristics
Minjung Jung
Kosin Med J. 2022;37(3):176-186.   Published online August 25, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.7180/kmj.22.022
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Abstract PDFPubReader   ePub   CrossRef-TDMCrossref - TDM
Mucinous carcinoma is a rare histologic type of breast cancer that, when classified with favorable histology, can be treated with different therapeutic options. This study reviews the histologic findings of mucinous carcinoma that support or exclude favorable histology and emphasizes the necessity of an appropriate gross examination with radiologic findings for an accurate diagnosis. In addition, unusual findings such as micropapillary arrangements and lobular differentiation in mucinous carcinoma and their implications for prognosis and treatment are reviewed. Mucinous carcinoma involves upregulation of MUC2, a mucus-associated gene common in mucinous carcinoma of the breast as well as various other organs. In mucinous carcinoma, the fraction of genome altered and tumor mutation burden are lower than those of invasive carcinoma of no special type, the most common histology of breast cancer. In addition, the genetic alterations found in mucinous carcinoma are diverse, unlike the pathognomonic genetic alterations observed in other histologic types of breast cancer. These genetic features support the importance of conventional microscopic evaluations for the pathologic differential diagnosis of mucinous carcinoma of the breast in routine practice. A variety of breast lesions, including mucinous cystadenocarcinoma and mucocele-like lesions, as well as mucinous carcinoma from other organs, can mimic mucinous carcinoma of the breast. In order to obtain an accurate pathologic diagnosis, careful evaluation of the overall histopathologic characteristics and ancillary testing are required to provide information on appropriate treatment and prognosis.

KMJ : Kosin Medical Journal