8401/3 Apocrine adenocarcinoma


ICD-O-3 topography code: C44
ICD10: C44

Apocrine adenocarcinoma (AC) is a rare, slow-growing cutaneous carcinoma with apocrine differentiation arising from the sweat glands. Most commonly affected location is the axilla, followed by the anogenital region. AC typically originates in the deeper dermis and frequently extends into the subcutaneous fat, sometimes also into the epidermis. The lesions typically are poorly circumscribed, single or multiple, firm or cystic nodules with infiltrating borders. They may be ulcerated or hemorrhagic and range in size from 1.5 to 8 cm. The tumour cells are characterized by abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm and large, often vesicular nuclei. An important diagnostic feature is decapitation secretion, although it may be absent in poorly differentiated tumours. The typically densely fibroblastic or hyaline stroma may contain lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates.
All reported cases of apocrine adenocarcinoma affected adults between 25 and 91 years of age (average 60 years). The clinical course is typically prolonged. Tumour-related deaths have been reported, but the overall mortality is low, despite high rates of recurrence (30%) and regional lymph node metastasis (50%)1
LeBoit PE, Burg G, Weedon D, Sarasin A (Eds.)
World Health Organization Classification of Tumours. Pathology and Genetics of Skin Tumours
3rd Edition
IARC Press: Lyon 2005


ICD-O-3 topography code: C50
ICD10: C50

Apocrine carcinoma of the breast is characterized by a >90% proportion of tumour cells with cytological and immunohistochemical features of apocrine cells. There are usually two types of tumour cells which are variously intermingled. Type A cells have abundant granular, intensely eosinophilic cytoplasm. The cytoplasm of type B cells contains fine, empty vacuoles, resulting in a foamy appearance. The nuclei of both cell types vary from globoid with prominent nucleoli to hyperchromatic.
Clinical and mammographic features, size and site of apocrine carcinomas correspond to other, non-apocrine lesions. Bilaterality is rare.
Apocrine carcinomas of the breast are uncommon and account for maximally 4% of invasive carcinomas (but focally, apocrine cells are found in at least 30% of invasive carcinomas). The prognosis for apocrine duct carcinoma is the same as for non-apocrine duct carcinoma
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Abati AD, Kimmel M, Rosen PP (1990)
Apocrine mammary carcinoma. A clinicopathologic study of 72 cases.
Am J Clin Pathol 94: 371-7

Tavassoli FA, Devilee P (Eds.)
World Health Organization Classification of Tumours. Pathology and Genetics of Tumours of the Breast and Female Genital Organs.
3rd Edition
IARC Press: Lyon 2003