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Histopathology. 2007 Apr;50(5):607-14.

Radial scars/complex sclerosing lesions and malignancy in a screening programme: incidence and histological features revisited.

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Department of Histopathology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.



Radial scars (RS) are benign entities, frequently identified on screening mammography, which may be associated with malignancy. Much debate has been generated with regard to the optimum management of RS. We present our experience of RS in the first 5 years of a screening programme. The aim was to evaluate (i) the incidence of atypia and malignancy and (ii) the value of the preoperative core biopsy. We also further characterize the histological features.


One hundred and twenty-five histologically confirmed cases of RS were reviewed (111 had preoperative biopsies). Thirty-one (24.8%) patients had a final malignant diagnosis (11 with invasive malignancy) and 28 (22.4%) showed atypia (including lobular carcinoma in situ). In those with core biopsies and a final malignant diagnosis, 12 cases were categorized as B5 (41.3%), three as B4 (10.3%), 12 as B3 (41.3%) and two as B2 (7%). Common histological features included obliterated ducts and chronic inflammation with, less frequently, neural hyperplasia (16.8%) and perineural invasion (3.2%).


The high incidence of atypia and malignancy identified in our study justifies our policy of removing all mammographically detected RS. We emphasize the utility of preoperative core biopsy evaluation in permitting one-stage surgical therapy in those with B5 diagnoses.

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