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Phyllodes Tumors

Rare breast cancers include phyllodes tumors. The connective tissue that makes up your breasts, known as the stroma, is where it develops phyllodes tumors.


Phyllodes tumors seldom spread outside of your breast because the majority of them are not malignant. They have a rapid growth rate nevertheless. Certain phyllodes tumors are borderline malignant and benign. 


These tumors can occur at any age, but women in their 40s are the ones who seem to develop them the most frequently. If you have the uncommon genetic disorder known as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, you are more prone to develop a phyllodes tumor.


Alarming factors:


Phyllodes tumors have no known aetiology, according to experts. They are more prevalent in women with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a rare genetic condition. Men are seldom affected. Phyllodes tumors can occur in women of any age, although they most frequently do so in their forties.

The likelihood of developing breast cancer later in life is unaffected by a benign phyllodes tumor.




Tumors on Phyllodes develop quite fast. As per the Breastcancer.org reports that a lump under the skin is frequently the first sign of the disease. To the touch, the lump will seem smooth. Additionally, the skin above your breast may get heated and discoloured, as well as turn red. The tumor can develop swiftly enough for you to eventually see it through your skin.


The majority of phyllodes tumors are not malignant, yet they can still spread and hurt. You can notice an open sore on your breast if the tumor pushes through your skin.




A lump can be identified as a phyllodes tumor by the following tests:

  • Mammogram: A phyllodes tumor may be suspected by your doctor based on findings from routine mammography or ultrasound. It will provide in-depth pictures of the bulge. The form of a phyllodes tumor is round or oval. It could include minute calcium particles.
  • Ultrasound: This examination shows images of your inside organs using sound waves. It will be used by the doctor to determine whether the lump is spherical and well-defined.
  • Needle biopsy: To confirm your diagnosis, your doctor could perform a core needle biopsy on your lump. A little piece of tissue will be removed using a hollow needle, and a microscope will be used to look for indications of malignancy.
  • Excisional biopsy or lump removal: This technique is typically required to obtain a diagnosis. Your doctor will take out the entire lump and look at the tissue. This biopsy can determine if your tumor is benign, cancerous, or malignant.




Malignant phyllodes are staged differently from other forms of breast cancer. When staging these tumors as opposed to other types of breast cancer, lymph node status is less significant. This is because sarcomas usually do not spread through the lymphatic system. Axillary lymph node dissection, or the removal of the lymph nodes under the arm, is frequently unnecessary even when sarcomas are extremely big tumors since lymph nodes are typically cancer-free.


Malignant phyllodes tumors are also treated considerably differently than more typical forms of breast cancer. Local treatment alone is most frequently used to treat phyllodes tumors that are limited to the breast, whether they are benign or malignant.


Systemic therapy will only be advised if it is known that cancer has spread to other areas of the body.


The goal of local treatment is to stop the breast tumor from returning. Surgery (wide excision or mastectomy) to remove the tumor and excess tissue around it is a component of local treatment for phyllodes tumors. In addition, radiation therapy is also administered sometimes.


If a malignant phyllodes tumor has progressed outside of the breast, systemic therapy (chemotherapy) may be administered, however, this is uncommon. Your oncology team will suggest a course of action for your condition based on the current understanding of malignant phyllodes tumors.




Breast phyllodes tumors are uncommon, and malignant ones are much more so. The likelihood is that if a tumor is discovered, it will be removed. Your medical professional will continue to monitor you often for any indications of a recurrence. By conducting your routine breast self-exams, you may contribute. Better results result from detecting cancers sooner rather than later.

Dr Rajeev Agarwal
Cancer Care
Meet The Doctor
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