Yuki Yabuuchi a , * , Takayuki Nakagawa b , Masaki Shimanouchi b , Shingo Usui b , d , Kenji Hayashihara a , Shuji Oh-ishi a , Takefumi Saito a , Jun Kanazawa a , Yukiko Miura a , Shouta Kubota a , Kai Kawashima a , Takafumi Shimada a , Hisayuki Oshima a , Hitomi Hirano a , Mizu Nonaka a , Yuka Kitaoka a , Naoki Arai a , Kentaro Hyodo a , Atsuhito Nakazawa a , Yuko Minami c
25 November 2020
Recurrence of oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer rarely occurs postoperatively after a long period. Breast cancer cells survive and settle in distant organs in a dormant state, a phenomenon known as “tumour dormancy.” Here, we present a 66-year-old woman with recurrence of ER-positive breast cancer in the left lung 23 years after surgery accompanied with non-tuberculous mycobacterium infection (NTM). At the age of 43 years, the patient underwent a right mastectomy and adjuvant hormonotherapy to completely cure breast cancer. Twenty-three years after the operation, when the patient was 66 years old, computed tomography presented nodular shadows in the lower lobes bilaterally with bronchiectasis and ill-defined satellite tree-in-bud nodules. Mycobacterium intracellulare was detected in cultured bronchoalveolar lavage fluid obtained from the left lower lobe by bronchoscopy. Rifampicin, ethambutol, and clarithromycin were started, which resulted in shrinkage of the nodule in the right lower lobe and satellite nodules; however, the nodule in the left lower lobe increased in size gradually. Wedge resection of the left lower lobe containing the nodule by video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery was performed, which demonstrated that the nodule was adenocarcinoma in intraoperative pathological diagnosis; therefore, a left lower lobectomy and mediastinal lymph node dissection were performed. The tumour was revealed to be consistent with recurrence of previous breast cancer according to its morphology and immunohistochemical staining. Furthermore, caseous epithelioid cell granulomas existed in the periphery of the tumour. It is reported that inflammatory cytokines induce reawakening of dormant oestrogen-dependent breast cancer and, in our case, NTM infection might have stimulated the dormant tumour cells in the lower lobe.