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Surgical Pathology Criteria

Apocrine Adenoma of the Breast


  • A circumscribed nodule of bland glands with apocrine differentiation

Diagnostic Criteria

  • Circumscribed nodule of tightly packed glands
    • Glands may have flat or papillary lining
    • Scant stroma
  • Lumenal cells show apocrine differentiation
    • Tall columnar
    • Granular eosinophilic cytoplasm
    • Bland, basal nuclei
      • Mitotic figures described in one report but absent in others
    • Apical blebs
  • Basal myoepithelial cells present
    • Not addressed in publications
      • Clearly visible in figures in de Potter 1988
    • Cytologically bland

Richard L Kempson MD
Robert V Rouse MD
Department of Pathology
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford CA 94305-5342

Original posting:: May 27, 2006

Supplemental studies


  • No immunohistochemistry reported
    • Cytoplasm of lumenal cells would be expected to be GCDFP15 positive
    • Myoepithelial cells would be expected to be positive for myoepithelial markers
      • Actin, calponin, p63

Differential Diagnosis


Sclerosing Adenosis with Apocrine Metaplasia Apocrine Adenoma
Cellular, sclerotic stroma Scant stroma
Small glands Variable, larger glands
Compressed lumens Open lumens


Apocrine Adenosis Apocrine Adenoma
Poorly circumscribed Circumscribed nodule
Variable size and shape of glands Uniform round glands
Usually associated with adenomyoepithelioma No association with adenomyoepithelioma


Apocrine Carcinoma Apocrine Adenoma
Infiltrative pattern Circumscribed
Large vesicular nuclei with prominent nucleoli Small bland nuclei
No myoepithelial layer Myoepithelial layer present


  • Very rare, only about 6 cases reported
  • Half of cases reported in adult females
    • Single cases in adult male, juvenile male and female
  • Benign lesion

Grading / Staging / Report

  • Grading and staging are not applicable


Breast Adenomas (not all are true adenomas)

Breast Tumors and Lesions Exhibiting Reactivity for Muscle/Myoepithelial Markers

(Most benign lesions with an epithelial component will have a myoepithelial cell layer)


  • Pasquale-Styles MA, Milikowski C. Three-millimeter apocrine adenoma in a man: a case report and review of the literature. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2003 Nov;127(11):1498-500.
  • Baddoura FK, Judd RL. Apocrine adenoma of the breast: report of a case with investigation of lectin binding patterns in apocrine breast lesions. Mod Pathol. 1990 May;3(3):373-6.
  • De Potter CR, Cuvelier CA, Roels HJ. Apocrine adenoma presenting as gynaecomastia in a 14-year-old boy. Histopathology. 1988 Dec;13(6):697-9.
  • Tesluk H, Amott T, Goodnight JE Jr. Apocrine adenoma of the breast. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1986 Apr;110(4):351-2.
Printed from Surgical Pathology Criteria:
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