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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2001 Sep;177(3):559-64.

Percutaneous imaging-guided core breast biopsy: 5 years' experience in a community hospital.

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  • 1Breast Health Center, Department of Radiology, California Pacific Medical Center, 3698 California St., 2/F, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA.



This study reports the results of a percutaneous imaging-guided core breast biopsy program in a community hospital.


We reviewed the prospectively collected results of our imaging-guided core biopsy program during its first 5 years (1994-1998). A total of 1333 lesions (94% of which were Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) assessment category 4) were sampled in 1183 patients. Patients with BI-RADS assessment category 5 lesions were referred to surgeons. Stereotactic guidance was used for the core biopsy of 506 lesions, and sonography was used to guide the predominantly 16-gauge needle core biopsy of 827 solid masses.


One hundred forty-seven cancers were diagnosed in 1333 biopsies, resulting in a positive yield of 11%. Of 1020 patients with benign, concordant core biopsy results, 981 (96%) had at least one follow-up imaging examination within 36 months of the biopsy. Nineteen (2%) of these 1020 patients had a suspicious change at follow-up; 18 of these patients underwent surgical excision with benign findings. No cancers were found at imaging follow-up or by tumor registry linkage. All malignant core biopsy results were confirmed as malignant at surgical excision (positive predictive value 100%). Twenty-two patients with atypical ductal hyperplasia at core biopsy had subsequent surgery, and 12 (55%) of them were found to have cancer at surgery.


An imaging-guided core biopsy program, developed and implemented by a small group of radiologists in a community hospital, can achieve successful results and provide an important service to patients and a cost-effective alternative to surgical biopsy. Our program emphasized sonographic guidance and achieved high follow-up compliance.

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