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Idiopathic granulomatous mastitis masquerading as carcinoma of the breast: a case report and review of the literature

Richard Tuli1, Brian J O'Hara2, Janet Hines3 and Anne L Rosenberg2*

Author Affiliations

1 Dept. of Radiation Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA

2 Dept. of Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA

3 Infectious Diseases Division, Dept. of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

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International Seminars in Surgical Oncology 2007, 4:21  doi:10.1186/1477-7800-4-21

Published: 27 July 2007



Idiopathic granulomatous mastitis is an uncommon, benign entity with a diagnosis of exclusion. The typical clinical presentation of idiopathic granulomatous mastitis often mimics infection or malignancy. As a result, histopathological confirmation of idiopathic granulomatous mastitis combined with exclusion of infection, malignancy and other causes of granulomatous disease is absolutely necessary.

Case Presentation

We present a case of a young woman with idiopathic granulomatous mastitis, initially mistaken for mastitis as well as breast carcinoma, and successfully treated with a course of corticosteroids.


There is no clear clinical consensus regarding the ideal therapeutic management of idiopathic granulomatous mastitis. Treatment options include expectant management with spontaneous remission, corticosteroid therapy, immunosuppressive agents and extensive surgery for refractory cases.