Ectopic breast tissue and breast-like sweat gland metaplasias: An overlapping spectrum of lesions

John D. Pfeifer, Ronald J. Barr, Mark R. Wick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


There are many similarities in the morphology of benign and malignant lesions of the sweat glands and the breasts. The recently described cutaneous mammary-like sweat glands, also known as mixed sweat glands or apoeccrine glands, are also a likely source of selected proliferations that closely mimic those of the breast. We present three cases of breast-like lesions arising in the skin that demonstrate the ways in which the morphologic and pathologic continuum of the mammary glands, cutaneous mammary-like glands, and sweat glands can produce difficulties in precise diagnosis. The examples demonstrate that an anatomic location outside the milk line does not preclude the diagnosis of ectopic mammary tissue, and that lesions closely resembling those of the breast may also arise outside the milk line from conventional sweat glands or mixed sweat glands. The concept of homologous lesions of the breast, breast-like glands and sweat glands, in which morphology is partially mirrored by biochemical similarities, provides a perspective for classification of problematic cases of breast-like cutaneous lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of cutaneous pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


Dive into the research topics of 'Ectopic breast tissue and breast-like sweat gland metaplasias: An overlapping spectrum of lesions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this