Discrepancies between radiological and histological findings in preoperative core needle (CNB) and vacuum-assisted (VAB) breast biopsies

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2021 Mar;147(3):749-754. doi: 10.1007/s00432-020-03481-7. Epub 2020 Dec 7.


Background: Ultrasound (US)-guided breast biopsy is a routine diagnostic method used to correlate imaging finding to a histological diagnosis which is still the gold standard in preoperative diagnostics. The accuracy of US-guided breast biopsies relies on a precise radiologic-histopathologic correlation, which is discussed amongst an interdisciplinary team of gynecologists, radiologists and pathologists. However, false-negative or non-diagnostic biopsy results occur. Hence, a thorough and honest discussion to clarify the reason for discrepancies and to decide the next diagnostic step between specialists of the different disciplines is warranted. In this retrospective study, we analyzed discrepant findings between imaging and pathology results on preoperative breast biopsies.

Methods: Core and vacuum-assisted breast biopsies from 232 patients were included in this study. Inclusion criteria were (1) non-diagnostic (B1) category on histology independent from imaging category and (2) histological benign (B2) category with a BIRADS 5 (Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System) rating on imaging. Histological diagnoses were retrieved from all cases. Follow-up data were available in most cases.

Results: 138 biopsies were classified as B1, 94 biopsies as B2 category. 51 of 138 B1 cases (37%) underwent re-biopsy. Re-biopsy found malignancy (B5) in 19 of 51 cases, and B3/4 (premalignant) lesions in 3 of 51 cases. All B2 cases underwent second-look imaging-diagnosis, in 57 of 94 cases (66%) consecutive direct surgery or re-biopsy. Of these, malignancy was diagnosed histologically in 26 of 57 cases (45.6%).

Conclusion: Determining imaging-pathology concordance after US-guided breast biopsy is essential. Discrepant cases and further diagnostic steps need to be discussed with an interdisciplinary approach.

Keywords: Breast biopsy; Discrepancy; Histology; Imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Large-Core Needle / methods*
  • Breast / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Breast Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Diseases / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image-Guided Biopsy / methods
  • Vacuum