Granular Cell Tumors of the Breast

Granular cell tumors start in primitive (early) nerve cells. They are very rarely found in the breast.

Most granular cell tumors are found in the skin or the mouth, but they are uncommon even in those places. They are almost never cancer.

A granular cell tumor of the breast can most often be felt as a firm lump that you can move, but some may be attached to the skin or chest wall. They are usually about ½ to 1 inch across and most often are in the upper, inner part of the breast.1

Diagnosis

A mammogram and/or breast ultrasound may be done to learn more about the shape, size, and location of the tumor. Granular cell tumors are sometimes thought to be cancer because they can form lumps that are fixed in place. They may also look like cancer on a mammogram. A biopsy (removing a sample of tissue to be looked at under the microscope) is usually needed to be sure this breast change is not cancer.

Treatment

Granular cell tumors are usually removed along with a small margin (rim) of normal breast tissue around them.

How do granular cell tumors affect your risk for breast cancer?

Granular cell tumors of the breast are not linked to a higher risk of having breast cancer later.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

1 Hammas N, El Fatemi H, Jayi S, et al. Granular cell tumor of the breast: A case report. J Med Case Rep. 2014;8:465.

Santen RJ, Mansel R. Benign breast disorders. N Engl J Med. 2005;353:275-285.

Schnitt SJ, Collins LC. Pathology of benign breast disorders. In: Harris JR, Lippman ME, Morrow M, Osborne CK, eds. Diseases of the Breast. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010:69-85.

Last Medical Review: March 16, 2015 Last Revised: April 21, 2016

American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.