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Bombay Hospital doctors discover bone tissue in breast tumour of 44-yr-old woman

Only about 100 such cases have been documented in literature where a cancer produces bone cells in the breast.

mumbai Updated: May 17, 2018 23:22 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
breast cancer,breast tumour,Bombay Hospital
Extraosseous osteogenic sarcoma in the breast is very rare(Sutterstock)

A 44-year old Kalyan resident with a tumour in her right breast was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, in which doctors found the tumour contained bone tissue.

In 2016, Sushila Pathak, a resident of Kalyan, went to doctors at Bombay Hospital, Marine Lines, after she felt a lump in her breast. Doctors operated, removed the tumour and sent the tissue samples to the hospital’s laboratory for histopathology tests where tissue sections are studied by pathologists after they are processed and placed onto glass slides. The results surprised the doctors as they confirmed presence of bone tissue in the tumour.

Dr Tanuja Shet, professor of pathology, Tata Memorial Hospital, said only about 100 such cases have been documented in literature where a cancer produces bone cells in the breast.

“We were treating it like breast cancer but turned out she had high-grade extraosseous osteogenic sarcoma, a type of cancer in which the cells were forming a bone tissue in the breast,” said Dr Bharat Chauhan, consultant medical oncologist, Bombay Hospital, who is treating Pathak. The sample of the tumour was later sent to doctors at SL Raheja Hospital for a second analysis, where experts confirmed the diagnosis.

“The cells retrieved from the breast tumour didn’t have estrogen and progesterone receptors, which are found in breast cells, but had all the protein markers of the bone tissues,” said Dr Chauhan adding that the treatment regimen for chemotherapy was altered after the diagnosis.

“Extraosseous osteogenic sarcoma especially in the breast is very rare. They occur when certain cells called stromal cells become carcinogenic and start forming the bone tissue. Another rare form of sarcomas in the breast is when cartilage start forming in the breast,” Dr Shet added.

Dr Anita Borges, a city-based pathologist, said cancer cells in the breast, on rare occasions, develop the ability to produce the bone cells at a different site. “We are not exactly sure why this occurs,” she said.

While Pathak’s cancer in the breast was cleared, the disease has now spread to her lungs.

First Published: May 17, 2018 23:22 IST