Breast Implant–Associated Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma: Current Understanding and Recommendations for Management

Tessa L. St. Cyr, Barbara A. Pockaj, Donald W. Northfelt, Fiona E. Craig, Mark W. Clemens, Raman C. Mahabir

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Worldwide, millions of women live with breast implants. Therefore, it is important that physicians be aware of an uncommon but possibly serious complication arising from breast implants: breast implant–associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Breast implant–associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma most commonly presents as a delayed fluid collection around a textured breast implant or as a mass in the capsule surrounding the implant. The exact pathogenesis of the disease remains unclear. The neoplastic cells of BIA-ALCL show strong uniform staining for CD30 and are consistently negative for activin receptor-like kinase 1. Patients with confirmed cases should be referred to a lymphoma specialist or breast medical oncologist for a complete oncologic evaluation before any surgical intervention. For disease confined to the fluid accumulation or capsule, or both, surgical removal of the implant and complete capsulectomy is the preferred treatment. Postoperative chemotherapy or radiation, or both, are not considered necessary for patients with limited-stage disease and are reserved for advanced disease stages. Generally, BIA-ALCL is a local disease that follows an indolent course and has an excellent prognosis. Although complete remission of disease has occurred in patients with BIA-ALCL, median overall survival is reduced. As of March 2018, approximately 529 unique, confirmed BIA-ALCL cases had been reported in 23 countries. To date, 16 patients have died from BIA-ALCL, and all had extracapsular involvement. The aim of this article is to summarize the diagnosis, evaluation, and management of BIA-ALCL, based on established guidelines, for all practitioners who may care for patients with breast implants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-126
Number of pages10
JournalPlastic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • anaplastic
  • breast implants
  • breast implant–associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • large cell
  • lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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