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Tuberculosis of the breast: an uncommon presentation of an old disease
  1. Maria Antonia Galego1,
  2. Gisela Lage2,
  3. Maria Shekhovtsova2 and
  4. Raquel Duarte3,4,5
  1. 1 Pulmonology Department, Unidade Local de Saúde de Matosinhos E.P.E., Matosinhos, Portugal
  2. 2 Anatomical Pathology Department, Centro Hospitalar de Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho E.P.E., Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
  3. 3 Thorax and Circulation Unit, Centro Hospitalar de Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
  4. 4 Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
  5. 5 Department of Public Health, Forensic Sciences and Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Maria Antonia Galego, antoniagalego{at}


Breast tuberculosis (TB) is considered an uncommon disease with an estimated incidence of 0.1% of all breast lesions reported in developed countries. A 53-year-old Caucasian woman, with a medical history of Crohn’s disease, previously treated with infliximab for 3 months suspended due to a presumptive diagnosis of TB for which antitubercular regimen was started. Five months after, a painful lump in the left breast was identified by the patient. Mammary ultrasound confirmed left breast nodules and axillary adenopathies. Histology and microbiology of both lesions confirmed breast TB. Molecular drug susceptibility testing in both samples revealed no resistance to first line anti-TB drugs and the regimen was maintained for 1 year, with clinical and radiological improvement. Mammary gland involvement usually results from lymphatic extension and differential diagnosis frequently includes breast cancer or bacterial abscess.

  • tuberculosis
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  • Contributors Each author contributed with important intellectual content during manuscript drafting or revision and accepts accountability for the overall work as reported: clinical data acquisition - Maria Antónia Galego, Gisela Lage e Maria Shekhovtsova; drafting of the report - Maria Antónia Galego; supervision/mentorship and critical revision of the article: Professor Raquel Duarte.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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