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Eur J Surg Oncol. 2005 Dec;31(10):1125-8. Epub 2005 Jul 15.

All radial scars/complex sclerosing lesions seen on breast screening mammograms should be excised.

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Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK.



To determine the incidence of pre-malignant and malignant conditions in radial scars identified from screening mammograms in women taking part in the UK NHS breast cancer screening programme.


All women in our screening population from 1988 to 2002 with a radiological diagnosis of radial scar or complex sclerosing lesion confirmed on subsequent histopathology were included in this study. Patients were investigated with fine needle aspiration cytology then localisation biopsy (n=46) or straight to localisation biopsy (n=78). Patients where divided into two groups, one with pure RS/CSL with no associated epithelial features and the second with associated ADH, DCIS or invasive cancer.


One hundred and twenty-four lesions were confirmed histologically as radial scar or complex sclerosing lesions. The median age was 58 years. Of the 124 patients, 82 were pure RS/CSL. Forty-two had associated epithelial lesions, 22 patients had ADH and 20 patients had either in situ or invasive carcinoma. Where FNA was performed (n=46), mammograms had shown three lesions suspicious of cancer, which were not proven histologically. Mammograms picked up five malignancies out of the nine RS/CSL with associated cancers. Of these, FNA confirmed malignancy in only two patients. Where FNA was not done (n=78), mammogram had read five pure RS/CSL as cancers. It picked up only four cancers in RS lesions with DCIS/Ca out of 11.


All screen-detected stellate lesions should be excised due to their association with pre-malignant and malignant conditions.

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