What’s a phyllodes tumor?

Print anything with Printful

Phyllodes tumors are rare and can occur in the breast or prostate gland. They have a rapid growth rate and may be benign or malignant. Women aged 40-50 are more likely to develop them, and they require removal. Prostate phyllodes tumors are even rarer and can become large before being noticed.

A phyllodes cystosarcoma or phyllodes tumor is a rare form of cancer that occurs in the breast, or even more rarely occurs in the prostate gland. Most often, phyllodes tumors are associated with breast cancer, although many of these tumors are not cancers. They may be benign, but they have a rapid growth rate, meaning if ignored they can grow large enough to require removal by mastectomy.

Phyllodes tumors tend to invade the connective tissue of the breast but do not usually occur in the breast ducts. They are more likely to develop in women who have not yet reached menopause, with most phyllodes tumors seen in women aged 40-50. A much younger woman can have one of these cancers and cases have occurred in adolescent girls, although this is more rare. What is often most noticeable about these tumors is that they can change in size rapidly and it is not uncommon for growth to be evident and for these tumors to become very large over a matter of weeks or months.

There is different information about the likelihood that a phyllodes tumor is cancerous. Some sources such as the Merck Manual cite that approximately 50% of these tumors are malignant. Other equally reliable sources state that about 80% are benign. There appears to be a high rate of benign phyllodes tumors and the higher estimate of non-cancerous forms may be more accurate.

If a phyllodes tumor is suspected, women will typically need to have a needle or open surgical biopsy. This helps test the tumor for possible malignancy and can therefore be considered benign, borderline, or malignant. This assessment determines the treatment. Cancerous (malignant) and borderline tumors might mean having chemotherapy or radiation after a mastectomy. Benign tumors still need to be removed. If the benign tumor is caught early, removal may be done in the form of a lumpectomy, but if the tumor is malignant or borderline, lumpectomies tend not to be preferable. About 20% of women will have a Phyllodes tumor recurrence.

These cancers are exceptionally rare, accounting for only 1% of all breast cancer cases. They are even rarer when they occur in the prostate gland and, like the breast type, can be malignant or benign. Unfortunately, phyllodes tumors of the prostate can become even larger than breast tumors before they are noticed, since this is not an area of ​​the body that men can check on their own for lumps or tumors. As with treatment when such tumors occur in the breast, it is recommended that those occurring in the prostate be removed immediately and checked for potential malignancy.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content