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Textured Breast Implants and Rare Anaplastic Lymphoma

By: Bruce Cleary
Posted: Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Ashley N. Leberfinger, MD, and colleagues at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, conducted a systematic review to determine the incidence of breast implant–associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). Their findings, which were reported in JAMA Surgery, indicate this peripheral T-cell lymphoma is rare in these patients, although the number of cases may be increasing.

“We’re still exploring the exact causes, but according to current knowledge, this cancer only really started to appear after textured implants came on the market in the 1990s,” said coauthor Dino J. Ravnic, DO, MPH, in a Penn State press release.

Based on the investigators’ review of the literature, from the first documented case in August 1997 through January 2017, a total of 93 cases of breast implant–associated ALCL were reported and 2 unreported cases were included from the investigators’ institution.

The lymphoma, which is thought to be due to chronic inflammation from indolent infections leading to malignant transformation of T cells, is slow to develop. In this literature review, the researchers found the mean time to presentation is approximately 10 years after the implant is placed. Diagnosis can be done by ultrasonography with fluid aspiration, and treatment includes removing the implant and the surrounding capsule.