Follow-up recommendations for benign breast biopsies

Breast J. Sep-Oct 2006;12(5):413-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1075-122X.2006.00302.x.


Histologically proven benign breast disease increases a woman's relative risk for subsequent cancer development. Yet follow-up guidelines for mammogram and clinical breast examination after a benign breast biopsy are lacking. Our objective was to determine if increased surveillance is indicated following a benign breast biopsy. Following institutional review board approval, a retrospective database review was conducted of prospectively gathered patients who had a benign breast biopsy (core or excisional) for an abnormality detected on mammogram, ultrasound, or clinical breast examination. Follow-up, for all subjects, was a clinical breast examination and mammogram or ultrasound at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years after benign breast biopsy by a breast surgeon. End points were the need for additional biopsies or cancer detection. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-squared analysis. From January 2000 to July 2003, 156 patients age 18-86 years had a benign breast biopsy. During the 2 year follow-up, 20 patients (13%) required a subsequent biopsy. No significant difference was observed in mean age, race, menarche, menopause, parity, age at first live birth, use of oral contraceptives, history of prior biopsy, or the pathology of the initial lesion between those who needed a subsequent biopsy and those who did not. Seven excisional biopsies were performed (one at 6 months, four at 1 year, and two at 2 years follow-up) for growth of the benign breast biopsy lesion, and pathology remained concordant with the original diagnosis. Thirteen biopsies were done for new findings on mammogram or ultrasound. Three of these (1.9%) yielded a cancer diagnosis (one at 6 months, one at 1 year, and one at 2 years follow-up). No new lesions were identified on follow-up by clinical breast examination alone. Increased surveillance following a benign breast biopsy is necessary because of the increased need for subsequent biopsy or risk of cancer development. This should include imaging (mammography or ultrasound) and a clinical breast examination 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years after a benign breast biopsy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy*
  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Breast Diseases / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary