Update on ALCL Lymphoma for Women with Breast Implants

By Diana Zuckerman, PhD


There is growing evidence that ALCL, a type of cancer of the immune system, can be caused by breast implants that are filled with either silicone or saline, and that the sooner the implants are removed, the more likely that the woman will recover. A study by doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston published in 2012 described 13 patients with ALCL and breast implants. Most of the patients had excess fluid around the breast implant, but not a tumor, and those patients usually recovered well after the implant and the scar capsule around it were removed by the surgeon. In contrast, patients who had a tumor next to the implant as well as excess fluid may have more advanced disease that should be treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy in addition to surgery to remove the implant and scar capsule.

Since the women had been diagnosed before it was known that the breast implants caused the ALCL, several had their implants replaced with new ones. Those women had subsequent serious health problems, including a recurrence of ALCL in one patient and the need for a mastectomy in a second patient.

For more information:
Tariq Aladily, Jeffrey Medeiros, Mitual Amin, et al, Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma Associated With Breast Implants: A Report of 13 Cases,
American Journal of Surgical Pathology. 2012;36:1000–1008, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22613996#%23

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