Last updated: June 13, 2023

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Summarytoggle arrow icon

Fibroadenomas are the most common benign breast tumor in women under 35 years of age. Hormonal factors are thought to contribute to fibroadenoma growth, but the exact etiology is poorly understood. On examination, fibroadenomas are well-defined, mobile, typically solitary breast masses that are 1–2 cm in diameter on average. Giant fibroadenomas are much larger in size and can distort the shape of the breast. Patient history, physical examination, and age-appropriate imaging for a palpable breast mass are used to establish the diagnosis. Biopsy is not routinely required for diagnostic confirmation but may be indicated to rule out differential diagnoses (e.g., phyllodes tumor, breast cancer). Although most fibroadenomas are benign and have an excellent prognosis, complex adenomas are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Epidemiologytoggle arrow icon

Epidemiological data refers to the US, unless otherwise specified.

Etiologytoggle arrow icon

Clinical featurestoggle arrow icon

  • Usually a well-defined, mobile mass
  • Most commonly solitary
  • Nontender
  • Rubbery consistency
  • Typically 1–2 cm in diameter
  • Giant fibroadenomas are > 5 cm in size and may distort the shape of the breast. [3]

Diagnosticstoggle arrow icon

Follow age-appropriate diagnostic workup for a palpable breast mass. The findings specific to fibroadenoma are described here.

Imaging [3][4]


Biopsy is not routinely required in patients with imaging findings consistent with a fibroadenoma and no clinical suspicion of malignancy or phyllodes tumor. [2][3][4]

Core needle biopsy or excisional biopsy is preferred if phyllodes tumor is suspected as FNAC cannot reliably distinguish between fibroadenomas and phyllodes tumors. [2][6]

Differential diagnosestoggle arrow icon

The clinical and imaging features of phyllodes tumors may closely resemble those of fibroadenomas, but the biological behaviors of these tumors are different. Borderline and malignant phyllodes tumors can metastasize hematogenously, and benign phyllodes tumors have a high risk of recurrence postexcision.

The differential diagnoses listed here are not exhaustive.

Treatmenttoggle arrow icon

Management decisions should be made using shared decision-making.

Expectant management

Surgical excision

  • Indications [3][5]
    • Large size (e.g., > 2 cm) or rapid growth
    • Suspected malignancy
    • Bothersome symptoms or cosmetic concerns

Minimally invasive procedures [3]

  • Indications: an alternative to surgical excision for patients with biopsy-proven fibroadenomas
  • Modalities
    • Thermal ablation : targeted cell destruction of the fibroadenoma
    • Vacuum-assisted percutaneous excision: removal of the fibroadenoma using a hollow bore needle under image guidance

Prognosistoggle arrow icon

  • Generally good
  • Most fibroadenomas are not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Complex fibroadenomas may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Referencestoggle arrow icon

  1. $Contributor Disclosures - Fibroadenoma. None of the individuals in control of the content for this article reported relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies. For details, please review our full conflict of interest (COI) policy:.
  2. ACOG. Practice Bulletin No. 164 Diagnosis and management of benign breast disorders. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2016; 127 (6): p.e141-e156.doi: 10.1097/aog.0000000000001482 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  3. Kopkash K, Yao K. The surgeon’s guide to fibroadenomas. Ann Breast Surg. 2020; 4: p.25-25.doi: 10.21037/abs-20-100 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  4. Moy L, Heller SL, Bailey L, et al. ACR Appropriateness Criteria ® Palpable Breast Masses. J Am Coll Radiol. 2017; 14 (5): p.S203-S224.doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2017.02.033 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  5. Rao R, Ludwig K, Bailey L, et al. Select Choices in Benign Breast Disease: An Initiative of the American Society of Breast Surgeons for the American Board of Internal Medicine Choosing Wisely® Campaign. Ann Surg Oncol. 2018; 25 (10): p.2795-2800.doi: 10.1245/s10434-018-6584-5 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  6. Simpson A, Li P, Dietz J. Diagnosis and management of phyllodes tumors of the breast. Ann Breast Surg. 2021; 5: p.8-8.doi: 10.21037/abs-20-99 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  7. Soltanian H, Lee M. Breast fibroadenomas in adolescents: current perspectives. Adolesc Health Med Ther. 2015: p.159.doi: 10.2147/ahmt.s55833 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  8. Clauser P, Bazzocchi M, Marcon M, Londero V, Zuiani C. Results of Short-Term Follow-Up in BI-RADS 3 and 4a Breast Lesions with a Histological Diagnosis of Fibroadenoma at Percutaneous Needle Biopsy. Breast Care. 2017; 12 (4): p.238-242.doi: 10.1159/000477536 . | Open in Read by QxMD

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