Bacterial Biofilm Infection Detected in Breast Implant–Associated Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma

H Hu, K Johani, A Almatroudi, K Vickery, B Van Natta, ME Kadin, G Brody, M Clemens, Chan Cheah, S Lade, PA Joshi, HM Prince, AK Deva

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269 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A recent association between breast implants and the development of anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) has been observed. The purpose of this study was to identify whether bacterial biofilm is present in breast implant-associated ALCL and, if so, to compare the bacterial microbiome to nontumor capsule samples from breast implants with contracture. Methods: Twenty-six breast implant-associated ALCL samples were analyzed for the presence of biofilm by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, next-generation sequencing, fluorescent in situ hybridization, and scanning electron microscopy, and compared to 62 nontumor capsule specimens. Results: Both the breast implant-associated ALCL and nontumor capsule samples yielded high mean numbers of bacteria (breast implant-associated ALCL, 4.7 × 106 cells/mg of tissue; capsule, 4.9 × 106 cells/mg of tissue). Analysis of the microbiome in breast implant-associated ALCL specimens showed significant differences with species identified in nontumor capsule specimens. There was a significantly greater proportion of Ralstonia spp. present in ALCL specimens compared with nontumor capsule specimens (p < 0.05). In contrast, significantly more Staphylococcus spp. were found associated with nontumor capsule specimens compared with breast implant-associated ALCL specimens (p < 0.001). Bacterial biofilm was visualized both on scanning electron microscopy and fluorescent in situ hybridization. Conclusions: This novel finding of bacterial biofilm and a distinct microbiome in breast implant-associated ALCL samples points to a possible infectious contributing cause. Breast implants are widely used in both reconstructive and aesthetic surgery, and strategies to reduce their contamination should be more widely studied and practiced. © Copyright 2016 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1659-1669
Number of pages11
JournalThe Breast
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


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