Copyright ©The Author(s) 2024. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Clin Cases. Feb 26, 2024; 12(6): 1045-1049
Published online Feb 26, 2024. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v12.i6.1045
Tumor deposits in axillary adipose tissue in patients with breast cancer: Do they matter?
Muhammed Mubarak, Rahma Rashid, Shaheera Shakeel
Muhammed Mubarak, Rahma Rashid, Shaheera Shakeel, Department of Histopathology, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, Karachi 74200, Sindh, Pakistan
Author contributions: All authors contributed equally to the preparation of this manuscript; Mubarak M conceived the idea; Mubarak M and Rashid R did literature search; Mubarak M wrote the preliminary draft; Mubarak M, Rashid R, and Shakeel S critically reviewed and approved the manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All authors declare that they have no conflict-of-interest.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: https://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Muhammed Mubarak, MD, Professor, Department of Histopathology, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, Dewan Farooq Medical Complex, Chand Bibi Road, Karachi, Karachi 74200, Sindh, Pakistan. drmubaraksiut@yahoo.com
Received: November 13, 2023
Peer-review started: November 13, 2023
First decision: January 9, 2024
Revised: January 10, 2024
Accepted: January 31, 2024
Article in press: January 31, 2024
Published online: February 26, 2024

Tumor deposits (TDs) are defined as discrete, irregular clusters of tumor cells lying in the soft tissue adjacent to but separate from the primary tumor, and are usually found in the lymphatic drainage area of the primary tumor. By definition, no residual lymph node structure should be identified in these tumor masses. At present, TDs are mainly reported in colorectal cancer, with a few reports in gastric cancer. There are very few reports on breast cancer (BC). For TDs, current dominant theories suggest that these are the result of lymph node metastasis of the tumor with complete destruction of the lymph nodes by the tumor tissue. Even some pathologists classify a TD as two lymph node metastases for calculation. Some pathologists also believe that TDs belong to the category of disseminated metastasis. Therefore, regardless of the origin, TDs are an indicator of poor prognosis. Moreover, for BC, sentinel lymph node biopsy is generally used at present. Whether radical axillary lymph node dissection should be adopted for BC with TDs in axillary lymph nodes is still inconclusive. The present commentary of this clinical issue has certain guiding significance. It is aimed to increase the awareness of the scientific community towards this under-recognized problem in BC pathology.

Keywords: Breast cancer, Tumor deposits, Lymph node metastasis, Staging

Core Tip: In this editorial, we comment on a case report by Li et al published in the recent issue of the World Journal of Clinical Cases. According to the authors of this article, the objective of presenting this case was to bring to attention the detection and reporting of tumor deposits (TDs) in breast cancer. TDs are being increasingly detected and reported in many other types of surgically resected cancers, but in this editorial article, we will focus specifically on the significance of TDs in primary breast carcinoma.