OCCASIONALLY the radiologic appearance of a common benign lesion is indistinguishable from a metastatic tumor within the same organ. A case in point is malignant melanoma, metastatic to the breast, which may be identical in appearance to a benign fibroadenoma of the breast. The two following cases demonstrate the impossibility of differentiating these lesions using only physical examination and xerographic confirmation.
Report of Cases
A 27-year-old woman went to her local physician complaining of a tender lump in the right axilla. After examination, which showed only an axillary mass and two discrete, freely movable "adenomas of the breast," she was referred to a surgeon who felt she probably had a lymphoma. The patient underwent lymph node biopsy of the solitary axillary lymph node, which measured 2×2 cm. The pathologic diagnosis was anaplastic adenocarcinoma, metastatic to the axillary node. The patient was referred to University of Iowa Hospitals and
Jochimsen PR, Brown RC. Metastatic Melanoma in the Breast Masquerading as Fibroadenoma. JAMA. 1976;236(24):2779-2780. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270250047028