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Case report
Previously undiagnosed neuroendocrine tumour mimicking breast cancer metastasis to the orbit
  1. Colin Bacorn1,
  2. Esther Kim1,
  3. Alexander D Borowsky2 and
  4. Lily Koo Lin1
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, University of California Davis Health Eye Center, Sacramento, California, USA
  2. 2Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California Davis Health System, Sacramento, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lily Koo Lin; lklin{at}


Metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasms to the breast are rare and histopathologic overlap with mammary carcinomas has led to misdiagnosis. We present a case of a middle-aged woman with diplopia and a right medial rectus mass. Metastatic breast cancer was initially suspected based on a history of invasive ductal carcinoma. Detailed immunohistochemistry of the orbital biopsy, gallium-68 dotatate positron emission tomography–CT, and reevaluation of her prior breast specimen, demonstrated that her initial breast carcinoma diagnosis was in error and she was ultimately diagnosed with a previously unknown gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumour metastatic to both the orbit and breast. This case highlights the challenges of differentiating between metastatic neuroendocrine tumours and invasive mammary carcinomas with neuroendocrine differentiation both in the breast and in the orbit. It is important to recognise the overlap so that a primary neuroendocrine neoplasm is not missed, or treatment significantly delayed.

  • oncology
  • ophthalmology
  • pathology

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  • Contributors All authors provided substantial contributions to the conception (EK and LKL) or design of the work (CB and LKL) or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data (CB, EK, ADB and LKL). CB contributed to drafting the work and EK, ADB and LKL revised it critically for important intellectual content. All the authors had final approval of the version published. All the authors are in agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that the questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • 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.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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

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