Surgical excision of radial scars diagnosed by core biopsy may help predict future risk of breast cancer

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Jun;145(2):331-8. doi: 10.1007/s10549-014-2958-y. Epub 2014 Apr 19.


Radial scars (RS's) are benign breast lesions known to be associated with carcinomas and other high-risk lesions (HRL's). The upgrade rate to carcinoma after core biopsy revealing RS is 0-40 %. We sought to determine the outcomes of RS with and without HRL diagnosed by core biopsy. Patients who underwent core biopsy revealing RS without carcinoma at our institution between 1/1996 and 11/2012 were identified from a surgical pathology database. Retrospective chart review was utilized to classify patients as RS-no HRL or RS-HRL. HRL was defined as ADH, LCIS, and/or ALH. We determined upgrade rate to carcinoma at surgical excision, and upgrade to HRL for RS-no HRL patients. Univariate analysis was performed to identify risk factors for upgrade in RS-no HRL patients. 156 patients underwent core biopsy revealing RS, 131 RS-no HRL (84 %), and 25 RS-HRL (16 %). The overall rate of upgrade to invasive carcinoma was 0.8 % (1/124). 1.0 % (1/102) of RS-no HRL and 13.6 % (3/22) of RS-HRL patients were upgraded to DCIS (P = 0.0023). The upgrade of RS-no HRL to HRL at excision was 21.6 % (22/102). By univariate analysis, RS-no HRL with radiologic appearance of a mass/architectural distortion had a significantly higher rate of upgrade to HRL or carcinoma compared with calcifications (P = 0.03). Excision of RS to rule out associated invasive carcinoma is not warranted, given a <1 % rate of upgrade at excision. However, excision to evaluate for non-invasive cancer or HRL may be considered to help guide clinical decision-making about use of chemoprevention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy, Large-Core Needle*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammary Glands, Human / pathology*
  • Mammary Glands, Human / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult