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Ann Oncol. 2004 Mar;15(3):450-4.

Mammographic features and correlation with biopsy findings using 11-gauge stereotactic vacuum-assisted breast biopsy (SVABB).

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  • 1Auxilio Mutuo Cancer, Hospital Auxilio Mutuo, San Juan, Puerto Rico.



Mammograms are assigned a BI-RADS (Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System) category, which indicates the level of suspicion for cancer.


(i) To evaluate the use of BI-RADS categories in a non-academic radiology practice based in a community hospital compared with local radiology private offices; (ii) to determine positive predictive value (PPV), sensitivity and specificity of mammograms; and (iii) to explore the correlation of BI-RAD 3-5 and lesion description with diagnosis of cancer.


We performed 947 SVABBs (stereotactic vacuum-assisted breast biopsies) on 911 patients with BI-RADS 3-5. Lesions were classified as: 1=microcalcifications; 2=asymmetric density; 3=circumscribed mass; and 4=spiculated mass.


BI-RADS category correlated with diagnosis of breast cancer (atypia excluded): category 3=4%; category 4=15%; and category 5=79%. The PPV of BI-RADS 4 and 5 for breast cancer or atypia was 20%, in contrast to 5% for BI-RADS 3. Sensitivity and specificity were 95% and 19%, respectively. For BI-RADS 3 without microcalcifications only 3% were positive, in contrast to 8% for remainder.


First, there is a stepwise increase in cancer for each of the BI-RADS categories 3-5. Secondly, in BI-RADS 3 with microcalcifications, a biopsy is indicated according to our findings. Finally, the sensitivity of mammograms is 95% but the specificity is 19%.

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