Inflammatory lesions of the breast are rare but not infrequently pose problems both clinically and morphologically, particularly on needle core biopsies. These lesions range from acute inflammatory conditions to chronic lymphoplasmacytic and lymphohistiocytic to granulomatous inflammatory diseases.


To provide a comprehensive overview of inflammatory lesions of the breast with etiopathogenesis and clinical, radiologic, and pathologic features, with differential diagnostic considerations, clinical management, and prognosis.

Data Sources.—

The existing literature in the English language, including original research articles and review articles describing inflammatory lesions of the breast.


Inflammatory lesions of the breast are characterized by a wide variety of clinical, radiologic, and morphologic features. The histopathologic differential diagnosis often includes a neoplastic process requiring ancillary studies and correlation with clinical and radiologic findings. Although most specimens display nonspecific findings precluding a definitive pathologic diagnosis, pathologists have a unique opportunity to play a crucial role in identifying key histologic features suggestive of certain entities, such as cystic neutrophilic granulomatous mastitis, immunoglobulin (Ig) G4 mastitis, or squamous metaplasia of lactiferous ducts, in the right clinical and radiologic context, and thereby guiding optimal and timely clinical management. The information presented herein will be helpful to practicing anatomic pathologists and pathology trainees in becoming more familiar with specific morphologic features and overcoming differential diagnostic challenges related to pathology reporting of inflammatory lesions of the breast.

Author notes

The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.