The mucinous variant of columnar cell lesions

Anoek H.J. Verschuur-Maes, Paul J. Van Diest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Aims: Mucin-producing columnar cell lesions (CCL) are a rare, new entity in the breast. The aim of this study was to describe the incidence and follow-up of mucinous CCLs. Methods and results: Of 4164 breast core needle biopsies (CNBs), 291 showed a CCL and 21 atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) originating in a CCL (ADH-CCL). Mucin production was present in 17 of 291 (5.8%) CCLs and three of 21 (14.3%) ADH-CCLs, together concerning 0.5% of all CNBs. The most common mucinous CCL pattern was a columnar cell change without atypia, and almost all were detected with microcalcifications as an abnormality at mammography. During a median follow-up of 3.1years, no invasive carcinoma or ductal carcinoma insitu was detected. MUC2 was expressed in intraluminal mucin in 12 of 15 (80%) mucinous CCLs, and showed cytoplasmic expression in five of 15 (33%) mucinous CCLs seen in CNBs. Moreover, mucinous CCLs were significantly more common in association with 46 mucinous carcinomas than in 46 ductal carcinomas (28% versus 9%). Conclusions: Mucinous CCLs are rare lesions, with an incidence of about 0.5% in breast CNBs, usually presenting with microcalcifications. Although these lesions might play a role in the mucinous progression spectrum, the short-term risk of progression to more advanced lesions seems to be low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-853
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast
  • Columnar cell lesions
  • Core needle biopsy
  • Flat epithelial atypia
  • Mucinous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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