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World J Surg. 2013 Nov;37(11):2607-12. doi: 10.1007/s00268-013-2191-6.

Is mode of presentation of B3 breast core biopsies (screen-detected or symptomatic) a distinguishing factor in the final histopathologic result or risk of diagnosis of malignancy?

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  • 1Breast Surgery Unit, Royal Berkshire Hospital, London Road, Reading, RG1 5AN, UK,



The relation between histopathologic subclassification and mode of patient presentation (with a screen-detected vs. symptomatic lesion) with an abnormality in the breast core biopsy classified as having uncertain malignant potential (B3) has not been previously examined. We compared the histopathologic subclassification of these lesions and the frequency of malignancy in screen-detected and symptomatic patient groups.


All B3 core biopsies from one breast unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital over a 5-year period (2006-2010) were analyzed (n = 131). After dividing the B3 biopsies into screen-detected and symptomatic groups, the National Health Service Breast Screening Programme histopathologic subclassification was used to further divide the groups into six subtypes. After surgery, a final diagnosis of invasive or in situ carcinoma was also noted.


B3 classification comprised 3.8 % (131/3,440) of all core biopsies during that time period. There were 78 specimens from symptomatic (59 %) and 53 from screen-detected (41 %) patients. There was no statistically significant difference between papillary and fibroepithelial diagnoses between the two groups (47 vs. 42 %, p = 0.59, NS). There was no difference between the groups for atypia, lobular neoplasia, or sclerosing lesions (49 vs. 51 %, p = 0.8, NS). Cancer was found in 20 % of the symptomatic patients and in 17 % of the screen-detected group (p = 0.65, NS).


Mode of patient presentation (with a screen-detected or symptomatic lesion) was not a distinguishing factor for breast histopathologic subclassification or for the final cancer diagnosis in patients whose breast core biopsy was classified as B3.

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