Background: We report a series of gynecologic cancers metastatic to the breast, illustrating the diagnostic and prognostic implications of this rare event. Study Design: By reviewing the gynecologic oncology data base, we identified 10 women with gynecologic cancer metastatic to the breast who were treated at Indiana University School of Medicine between August 1978 and February 1995. Medical records were reviewed for pertinent data concerning the presentation, evaluation, and treatment of the primary gynecologic malignancy and the metastatic breast tumor. Results: The mean patient age was 56.8 years (range, 30-80 years). The most common gynecologic malignancy was ovarian cancer (five patients), followed by cervical cancer (two patients) and cancers of the vagina, endometrium, or peritoneum (one patient each). A palpable solitary breast mass was found in 8 of 10 patients (80%), and the upper outer quadrant of the breast was the most common site of tumor involvement. One woman presented with examination findings resembling inflammatory breast cancer, and one patient presented with multiple firm subcutaneous nodules. Despite further treatment, which in all cases consisted of systemic chemotherapy, 83% of the patients died with a breast metastasis within 1 year of presentation. Conclusions: Secondary breast malignancy should be suspected in any patient with a breast tumor and a known history of gynecologic cancer. A breast metastasis implies widespread tumor dissemination and a poor prognosis. Radical breast surgery should be avoided.
ASJC Scopus subject areas