Metaplastic breast carcinoma is an aggressive form of breast cancer that accounts for 0.5% to 3% of all breast cancers.


To study the clinicopathologic characteristics and outcomes of this rare disease.


Retrospective study of patients with a diagnosis of metaplastic breast carcinoma between 2000 and 2019. Hematoxylin-eosin–stained slides were reviewed and additional clinical data were obtained from electronic medical records. Univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression analyses were used to determine associations between overall survival and several clinicopathologic variables.


Of the 125 patients with metaplastic breast carcinoma identified, only patients with high-grade disease (N = 115) were included in the data analysis. A total of 38 participants (33%) were white, 66 (57%) were African American, and 11 (10%) belonged to other ethnicities. The median age at diagnosis was 57 years. The median tumor size was 3 cm. Heterologous histology was seen in 30% of cases. Multivariable analyses showed that patients with a larger tumor size had worse overall survival (hazard ratio [HR], 1.25; 95% CI, 1.10–1.44; P < .001). Distant metastatic disease was also associated with worse overall survival on multivariable analysis (HR, 10.27; 95% CI, 2.03–55.54; P = .005). In addition to treatment with either partial or complete mastectomies, 84 patients (73%) received chemotherapy. Multivariable analyses showed that chemotherapy had no effect on overall survival (HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.09–6.05; P = .55).


A larger tumor size and distant metastatic disease are associated with worse overall survival in patients with metaplastic breast carcinoma. Additional studies are needed to further characterize our findings.

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

The abstract for this study was presented in poster format at the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) annual meeting; March 2, 2020; Los Angeles, California.

Supplementary data