Breast Cancer

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 219–224 | Cite as

Occult breast cancer: A case report and review of the literature

  • Noriyuki Tohnosu
  • Yoshihiro Nabeya
  • Masato Yamazaki
  • Hiroshi Iizuka
  • Mitsuhiro Matsuda
  • Yasushi Okazaki
  • Yoshiji Watanabe
  • Hirotoshi Sato
  • Taku Kato
  • Satoru Ishii
  • Koji Nonoshita
Case Report


We report a case of a 44-year-old woman with occult breast cancer presenting as an axillary mass in whom sonography was able to detect an involved internal mammary node also, thus helping to establish a diagnosis of breast cancer. The patient underwent extended radical mastectomy, including internal mammary lymphadenectomy. Microscopy of the removed specimen failed to find a primary breast cancer lesion. Metastatic cancer was seen in the palpable axillary node, another resected axillary node and a removed internal mammary node. The estrogen and progesterone receptor analysis of the axillary node were negative. Since occult breast cancer was found highly potential for metastasizing to the infraclavicular or internal mammary nodes, it is reasonable to treat such patients in the same way as those with palpable breast cancer, with adjuvant chemotherapy.

Key words

Axillary mass Occult breast cancer Sonographic diagnosis 



Estrogen receptor


Magnetic resonance


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Breast Cancer Society 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noriyuki Tohnosu
    • 1
  • Yoshihiro Nabeya
    • 1
  • Masato Yamazaki
    • 1
  • Hiroshi Iizuka
    • 1
  • Mitsuhiro Matsuda
    • 1
  • Yasushi Okazaki
    • 1
  • Yoshiji Watanabe
    • 1
  • Hirotoshi Sato
    • 1
  • Taku Kato
    • 2
  • Satoru Ishii
    • 3
  • Koji Nonoshita
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryFunabashi Municipal Medical CenterFunabashiJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory Division of PathologyFunabashi Municipal Medical CenterFunabashiJapan
  3. 3.Division of RadiologyFunabashi Municipal Medical CenterFunabashiJapan

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