Skip to main content

Histopathologic, immunophenotypic, and proteomics characteristics of low-grade phyllodes tumor and fibroadenoma: more similarities than differences


Zhang L , Yang C , Pfeifer JD , Caprioli RM , Judd AM , Patterson NH , Reyzer ML , Norris JL , Maluf HM , . NPJ breast cancer. 2020 6 26; 6(1). 27


Distinguishing low-grade phyllodes tumor from fibroadenoma is practically challenging due to their overlapping histologic features. However, the final interpretation is essential to surgeons, who base their management on the final pathology report. Patients who receive a diagnosis of fibroadenoma might not undergo any additional intervention while lumpectomy with wide margins is the standard of care for phyllodes tumor, which can have significant cosmetic consequences. We studied the clinical, immunophenotypic, and proteomics profiles of 31 histologically confirmed low-grade phyllodes tumor and 30 fibroadenomas. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) and immunohistochemistry for Ki-67, p53, β-catenin, and E-cadherin were performed on all cases. After the mass spectra for all 31 cases of low-grade phyllodes tumor and 30 cases of fibroadenoma were collected, an average peak value for all cases was generated. There was no significant difference in the overall mass spectra pattern in any of the peaks identified. There was also overlap in the percentage of cells staining positive for Ki-67, p53, β-catenin, and E-cadherin. The two groups of patients showed no statistically significant difference in age, tumor size, or disease-free survival. Neither group developed malignant transformation, distant metastases, or disease-related mortality. We have demonstrated low-grade phyllodes tumor and fibroadenoma to show significant overlapping clinical and proteomics features.