Introduction: Tuberous breast deformity (TB) is a condition mostly characterized by breast stenosis, areolar widening and glandular asymmetry. The most accredited hypothesis describes an abnormal thickening of the fascia corporis that might influence an alteration in the glandular development, limiting the horizontal growth of breast parenchyma. Alterations in the extracellular matrix components (ECM) might be involved in the abnormal breast development. Patients: The aim of our case control study is to use histological specimens to analyze qualitative and quantitative differences in collagen fibers, elastic fibers and vessel densities in TB and normal breasts of 20 patients using a software for digital pathology. Results: The quantitative findings showed increasing concentrations of collagen fibers and decreasing elastic fibers in TB, compared to normal breasts. No difference was seen in vessel density among the two groups. The qualitative findings highlighted differences in the distribution of the ECM among the TB specimens. Collagen fibers showed a packed appearance rather a scattered distribution, while elastic fibers visibly presented a reduction and a focal distribution of their concentration. Conclusions: The study proposes a correlation between abnormalities in ECM concentrations and TB, resulting in a higher degree of fibrosis and in the characteristic stenotic and less elastic morphology of the deformity. Level of evidence iv: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266 .
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