Background: A giant phyllodes tumor of the breast is a rare fibroepithelial lesion, and its treatment is controversial. Many case reports have reported performing skin graft reconstruction after tumor excision. Chest wall resection may be required if the tumor has invaded the chest muscle layer. We speculated that transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) can improve the resectability of malignant phyllodes tumor of the breast without requiring skin grafting. The English literature contains only one case report similar to our experience. Case presentation: We report a rare case of a 51-year-old woman who had a giant malignant phyllodes tumor with heterologous sarcomatous differentiation in her right breast. The tumor was 19.43 × 12.98 × 21.47 cm. Whole-body computed tomography (CT) and bone scan did not reveal distant metastasis. Chest magnetic resonance imaging showed chest wall tumor invasion. Considering that skin defects after mastectomy can be extensive, we administered four courses of chemoembolization in the 5 weeks before surgery (30 mg of epirubicin and embozene microspheres [400, 500, and 700 μm]/week). Each process was well tolerated, with no serious complications. Only fever and local pain at the tumor site were noted, and these symptoms resolved with time. The follow-up CT scan showed a 45% reduction in tumor volume. Therefore, simple mastectomy was performed without skin grafting reconstruction. Wound healing was satisfactory, and the patient was discharged 1 week after surgery. Pathological and immunohistochemistry (IHC) findings showed a malignant phyllodes tumor with an angiosarcoma component. Because of tumor invasion of the chest wall, we recommended the patient receive radiotherapy, but she refused. Two months after surgery, recurrence of the malignant phyllodes tumor with right axillary lymph node involvement and lung metastasis was confirmed. Conclusion: Initial surgical resection of giant phyllodes tumors is often challenging. For initial presentation with unresectable giant phyllodes tumor, we recommend to perform TACE prior to surgery. In our patient, preoperative TACE was effective and safe. If the tumor has invaded the chest wall, early radiotherapy after surgery may be recommended for preventing recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100
JournalBMC Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 27 2019


  • Angiosarcoma
  • Embozene microspheres
  • Malignant phyllodes tumor
  • Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization
  • Antineoplastic Agents/administration & dosage
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Epirubicin/administration & dosage
  • Hemangiosarcoma/therapy
  • Phyllodes Tumor/therapy
  • Neoplasms, Complex and Mixed/therapy
  • Mastectomy
  • Female
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic/methods
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Breast Neoplasms/therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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