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J Ultrasound Med. 2006 May;25(5):649-59; quiz 661.

Characterization of solid breast masses: use of the sonographic breast imaging reporting and data system lexicon.

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Department of Bio-Imaging, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.



The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability of sonographic American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Reporting And Data System (BI-RADS) classification in differentiating benign from malignant breast masses.


One hundred seventy-eight breast masses studied by sonography with a known diagnosis were reviewed. All lesions were classified according to the sonographic BI-RADS lexicon. Pathologic results were compared with sonographic features. Sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for the sonographic BI-RADS lexicon were calculated.


Twenty-six cases were assigned to class 3, 73 to class 4, and 79 to class 5. Pathologic results revealed 105 malignant and 73 benign lesions. The sonographic BI-RADS lexicon showed 71.3% accuracy, 98.1% sensitivity, 32.9% specificity, 67.8% PPV, and 92.3% NPV. The NPV for class 3 was 92.3%. The PPVs for classes 4 and 5 were 46.6% and 87.3%. Typical signs of malignancy were irregular shape, antiparallel orientation, noncircumscribed margin, echogenic halo, and decreased sound transmission. Typical signs of benignity were oval shape and circumscribed margin.


The sonographic BI-RADS lexicon is an important system for describing and classifying breast lesions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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