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Breast tuberculosis (TB) is rarely reported and poorly described. This review aims to update the existing literature on risk factors, clinical presentations, constitutional symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and medical and surgical treatments for breast TB. In all, 1,478 cases of breast TB were collected. Previous history of TB was reported in 19% of cases. The most common clinical appearance of the lesion was breast lump (75%). The most common associated finding was axillary lymphadenitis (33%) followed by sinus or fistula (24%). The most common symptoms were pain and fever, reported in 42% and 28% of cases, respectively. The most used diagnostic method was fine-needle aspiration cytology (32%), followed by biopsy (27%), acid-fast bacteria Ziehl-Neelsen stain (26%), culture (13%), and polymerase chain reaction (2%). These tested positive in 64%, 93%, 27%, 26%, and 58% of cases, respectively. The majority (69%) of patients received a 6-month anti-TB treatment (isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol). Surgery consisted of excision in 39% of cases, drainage in 23%, and mastectomy in 5%. The great majority of patients had a positive outcome. It often mimics breast cancer, which makes it difficult to diagnose. Most patients, when diagnosed in time, respond to antitubercular therapy alone.

Original publication

DOI

10.4269/ajtmh.19-0061

Type

Journal article

Journal

The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene

Publication Date

07/2019

Volume

101

Pages

12 - 21

Addresses

Department of International Health, Care and Public Health Research Institute (CAPHRI), Faculty of Health, Medicine, and Life Sciences, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Keywords

Humans, Tuberculosis, Breast Diseases, Antitubercular Agents, Risk Factors, Female