Researchers Find Clues as to How Implants Cause Breast Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)

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According to a new study published in the journal Mutation Research, researchers have found some clues as to why anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) develops in the breast following breast augmentation. ALCL is a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and usually develops in the liver, lymph nodes, skin, and soft tissue, but rarely the breast.


In fact, nearly all cases of breast ALCL have occurred in patients that have undergone breast augmentation. The researchers found that the tumors always develop in the scar tissue surrounding the breast implant.


In the study, researchers reviewed all studies and case reports involving ALCL. They found 71 cases of ALCL that are linked to breast implants, signifying that the incidence of ALCL in women who underwent breast augmentation is still very rare. Furthermore, researchers found that almost all patients with implant-related ALCL were anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-negative and responded well to treatment.


Patients with ALK-negative ALCL typically require more aggressive treatment and do have poor survival rates. In addition, they found that removing the implant and the surrounding tissue was a successful form of treatment in many of the women, suggesting that the implant may cause an atypical immune response, resulting in cancer.

Researchers Find Clues as to How Implants Cause Breast Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)
Researchers have found clues as to why ALCL develops in the breast following augmentation.

Breast augmentation was the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedure in the US last year, with around 290,000 women receiving either silicone or saline breast implants. Although extremely rare, some patients who have had this procedure develop a blood cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Now, a new study has shed light on why this is.

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), responsible for around 3% of NHLs. ALCL typically appears in the skin, lymph nodes, liver and soft tissue. On rare occasions, however, the cancer has appeared in the breast, and according to this latest research - led by Dr. Suzanne Turner of the University of Cambridge in the UK - almost all cases of breast ALCL have occurred in patients who have had breast augmentation, with the tumors always developing in the scar tissue surrounding the implant.

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