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Am J Clin Oncol. 2013 Feb;36(1):7-11. doi: 10.1097/COC.0b013e3182354a3f.

Rationale of excisional biopsy after the diagnosis of benign radial scar on core biopsy: a single institutional outcome analysis.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, Magee-Womens Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



Radial scar (RS) is characterized by a fibroelastic core with entrapped ducts and lobules. Association with carcinoma is not uncommon. There is some dilemma as to the need for excisional biopsy or follow-up after RS diagnosis on core biopsy.


To determine the necessity of excisional biopsy after the diagnosis of benign RS by core biopsy.


A total of 67 RS specimens associated with benign findings on core biopsy obtained between 2003 and 2008 were reviewed. They were grouped by their accompanying histopathologic features found upon subsequent surgical excision: benign, high-risk lesion (HRL), or carcinoma. Demographic features, radiologic findings, and needle gauge were compared within subgroups.


After surgical excision, 15 (22.4%) patients in the benign group were upgraded to a HRL, 4 (5.9%) patients were upgraded to carcinoma, and 48 (71.6%) remained benign. We found that malignancy is associated with RS more frequently if the patient is older and postmenopausal. Other variables such as symptoms at presentation, presence and type of abnormality on mammography (Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System score), breast density, size of biopsy needle used, and number of core samples retrieved did not help to predict the presence of carcinoma.


The HRL and cancer upgrade rate of RS, requiring further intervention such as surgery or chemoprevention, is 28% in this study. However, we found that age and menopausal status may be taken into consideration when making the decision to follow up or excise the RS diagnosed on core biopsy. There is insufficient data to support the predictive value of any variables. Therefore, RS associated with benign findings on core biopsy should be excised.

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