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Mod Pathol. 2011 Sep;24(9):1198-206. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2011.73. Epub 2011 May 20.

All atypia diagnosed at stereotactic vacuum-assisted breast biopsy do not need surgical excision.

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Department of Pathology, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Bordeaux, France.


The necessity of excision is debatable when atypia are diagnosed at stereotactic vacuum-assisted breast biopsy (microbiopsy). Among the 287 surgical excisions performed at Institut BergoniƩ from 1999 to 2009, we selected a case-control study group of 151 excisions; 52 involving all the diagnosed cancers and 99 randomly selected among the 235 excisions without cancer, following atypical microbiopsy (24 flat epithelial atypia; 50 atypical ductal hyperplasia; 14 lobular neoplasia; 63 mixed lesions). Mammographical calcification (type, extension, complete removal) and histological criteria of epithelial atypia (type, number of foci, size/extension), topography and microcalcification extension at microbiopsy were compared according to the presence or absence of cancer at excision. Factors associated with cancer at excision were Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS5) lesions, large and/or multiple foci of mammographical calcifications, histological type, number, size and extension of atypical foci. Flat epithelial atypia alone was never associated with cancer at excision. BI-RADS5, atypical ductal hyperplasia (alone or predominant) and >3 foci of atypia were identified as independent pejorative factors. There was never any cancer at excision when these pejorative factors were absent (n=31). Presence of one (n=59), two (n=23) or three (n=14) factors was associated with cancer in 24, 15 and 13 cases with an odds ratio=5.8 (95% CI: 3-11.2) for each additional factor. We recommend that mammographical data and histological characteristics be taken into account in the decision-making process after diagnosis of atypia on microbiopsy. With experienced senologists and strict histological criteria, some patients could be spared surgery resulting in significant patient, financial and time advantages.

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