Body Art Confounding a Case of Breast Cancer Article

PMID: 29230131 Web of Science: 000419498500026

Cited authors

  • Gowharji, Lena; Smetherman, Dana; Roberts, Brett


  • Background: Heavy metals in tattoo ink can be deposited in axillary lymph nodes, mimicking malignant calcifications. High-density foci in axillary lymph nodes can be the sequelae of a benign or malignant process.; Case Report: A 34-year-old female presented with left breast discomfort. Mammography showed suspicious left breast calcifications for which biopsy revealed multicentric ductal carcinoma in situ. Imaging also showed high-density foci in her left axillary lymph nodes suspicious for nodal metastases; however, biopsy of the lymph nodes found the high-density foci to be pigment-laden histiocytes from tattoo ink metallic deposits.; Conclusion: High-density foci in axillary lymph nodes on mammography can be evidence of calcifications or metal deposits and can be the manifestation of a benign or malignant process. Thus, this finding may warrant additional diagnostic workup (including mammography, ultrasound, and possibly biopsy) and correlation with clinical history.

Publication date

  • 2017

Published in

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1524-5012

Start page

  • 430

End page

  • 433


  • 17


  • 4