Metastatic breast cancer to the rectum: A case report with emphasis on MRI features

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Less than 1% of breast carcinomas metastasize to the gastrointestinal tract. The diagnosis is frequently not recognized especially when the history of breast carcinoma is remote.

Patient concerns:

A 61-year-old female with a remote history of breast carcinoma presented with a 3-month history of change in bowel habits. Colonoscopy showed a circumferential rectal mass with initial impression of primary rectal cancer. MRI of the rectum showed findings that are atypical for primary rectal cancer.


Deep biopsy of the rectal mass confirmed lobular breast carcinoma metastasis to the rectum.

Intervention and outcomes:

The patient was treated with radiotherapy and hormonal therapy. She is symptomatically well 2 years after presentation and remains on hormonal therapy.


Lobular breast cancer which metastasizes to the rectum can mimic primary rectal cancer clinically. The unique MRI features described in our case when present with a concordant history of lobular breast carcinoma should alert the radiologist to the possibility of this diagnosis which has important treatment implications.

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