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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1999 Mar;172(3):677-81.

Epithelial displacement after stereotactic 11-gauge directional vacuum-assisted breast biopsy.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.



Displaced epithelial fragments at percutaneous biopsy of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) may mimic stromal invasion. This study was undertaken to determine the frequency of epithelial displacement in DCIS lesions of patients who underwent stereotactic 11-gauge directional vacuum-assisted breast biopsy.


We retrospectively reviewed 28 consecutive DCIS lesions in patients who underwent stereotactic 11-gauge directional vacuum-assisted breast biopsy followed by surgery. Surgical specimens were examined for histologic evidence of epithelial displacement, consisting of fragments of epithelium in artifactual spaces in breast parenchyma or in lymphovascular channels, accompanied by hemorrhage, fat necrosis, inflammation, hemosiderin-laden macrophages, or granulation tissue.


The median number of specimens obtained per lesion was 14 (range, seven to 45). The median interval from stereotactic biopsy to surgery was 27 days (range, 10-59 days). Surgery revealed DCIS in 19 (68%) of 28 lesions, DCIS and infiltrating carcinoma in four lesions (14%), and no residual carcinoma in five lesions (18%). Reactive changes at the biopsy site were identified in all cases. Displacement of benign epithelium into granulation tissue at the stereotactic biopsy site was identified in two cases (7%). We found no evidence of displacement of malignant epithelium.


Epithelial displacement is uncommon after stereotactic 11-gauge directional vacuum-assisted biopsy of the breast. We observed displacement of benign epithelium in two (7%) of 28 DCIS lesions and no displacement of malignant epithelium.

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