Applied immunohistochemistry & molecular morphology : AIMM

Immunohistochemical localization of prostate-specific antigen in ductal epithelium of male breast. Potential diagnostic pitfall in patients with gynecomastia.

PMID 10937064


Enlargement of the male breast is frequently encountered in the course of adjuvant antiandrogen therapy for advanced prostate carcinoma. The clinical differential diagnosis in this setting includes hormonal imbalance-induced gynecomastia, primary breast carcinoma, and metastasis of prostatic carcinoma. Biopsy of the lesion with the identification of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) plays an important role in establishing the correct diagnosis. Recent studies showed that female mammary epithelium may be a significant source of PSA, but its expression in male breasts has not been sufficiently studied. We found that normal and hyperplastic duct epithelium in gynecomastia exhibited focal, strong (+3) PSA immunoreactivity in 5 of 18 cases (28%). In contrast, no PSA reactivity was found in eight cases of male breast carcinoma. No reactivity was seen with antiprostatic acid phosphatase (PsAP) antibody, in either benign or malignant epithelium. Frequent expression of PSA in gynecomastia may, in an appropriate clinical setting, cause confusion with metastatic prostatic carcinoma. The lack of immunoreactivity for PsAP in male breast epithelium indicates its usefulness in the differential diagnosis.