Apocrine metaplasia of the breast

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Apocrine metaplasia of the breast, also apocrine metaplasia, is a benign change in the breast without increased risk of malignancy.


  • Benign/not significant. Can be considered to be pretty wallpaper in the house of breast pathology.
  • Very common in adults.
  • Apocrine lesions as a group are usually benign, some pre-neoplastic and some malignant.[1]


  • Increased number of mitochondria.
    • In other body sites this has different names, e.g. Hurthle cell change (thyroid), oncocytic change (kidney).


  • Blue dome cysts.[2]



  • Eosinophilic cytoplasm - key feature.
  • Voluminous pink cytoplasm.
  • Apocrine snouts may be present.
    • Small protrusiona at the apical aspect of the cell (composed of cytoplasm and plasma membrane).
  • Central round nucleus
    • Prominent nuclear membrane.
    • Prominent, often single nucleolus.
  • +/-Luminal papillary tufts.[3]


  • Apocrine changes, i.e. cytoplasmic eosinophilia, can appear in malignant tumours; eosinophilia doesn't make something benign.




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  • Typically not reported.

See also


  1. Wells, CA.; El-Ayat, GA. (Dec 2007). "Non-operative breast pathology: apocrine lesions.". J Clin Pathol 60 (12): 1313-20. doi:10.1136/jcp.2006.040626. PMID 18042688.
  2. Rodrigues, G.; Prabhu, R.; Nair, R.; Thinda, R. (Aug 2011). "A blue-domed cyst of bloodgood.". Eurasian J Med 43 (2): 132. doi:10.5152/eajm.2011.30. PMID 25610180.
  3. URL: http://www.breastpathology.info/Benign%20proliferative%20disease.html. Accessed on: May 9, 2016.