Vacuum-assisted stereotactic breast biopsy: histologic underestimation of malignant lesions

Arch Surg. 2000 Jun;135(6):700-3. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.135.6.700.


Hypothesis: The histopathologic correlation between stereotactic core needle biopsy and subsequent surgical excision of mammographically detected nonpalpable breast abnormalities is improved with a larger-core (11-gauge) device.

Design: Retrospective medical record and histopathologic review.

Setting: University-based academic practice setting.

Patients: Two hundred one patients who underwent surgical excision of mammographic abnormalities that had undergone biopsy with an 11-gauge vacuum-assisted stereotactic core biopsy device.

Main outcome measure: Correlation between stereotactic biopsy histologic results and the histologic results of subsequent surgical specimens.

Results: Results of stereotactic biopsy performed on 851 patients revealed atypical hyperplasia in 46 lesions, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in 89 lesions, and invasive cancer in 73 mammographic abnormalities. Subsequent surgical excision of the 46 atypical lesions revealed 2 cases of DCIS (4.3%) and 4 cases of invasive carcinoma (8.7%). Lesions diagnosed as DCIS on stereotactic biopsy proved to be invasive carcinoma in 10 (11.2%) of 89 patients on subsequent excision. Stereotactic biopsy completely removed 21 (23.6%) of 89 DCIS lesions and 20 (27.4%) of 73 invasive carcinomas.

Conclusions: In summary, 11-gauge vacuum-assisted core breast biopsy accurately predicts the degree of disease in the majority of malignant lesions; however, understaging still occurs in 11% to 13% of lesions showing atypical hyperplasia or DCIS.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy / instrumentation
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Medical Records
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stereotaxic Techniques