Stereotactic Vacuum-Assisted Core Biopsy Results for Non-Palpable Breast Lesions


Background: The increase in breast cancer awareness and widespread use of mammographic screening has led to an increased detection of (non-palpable) breast cancers that cannot be discovered through physical examination. One of the methods used in the diagnosis of these cancers is vacuum-assisted core biopsy, which prevents a considerable number of patients from undergoing surgical procedures. The aim of this study was to present the results of stereotactic vacuum-assisted core biopsy for suspicious breast lesions. Materials and
Methods: Files were retrospectively scanned and data on demographic, radiological and pathological findings were recorded for patients who underwent stereotactic vacuum-assisted core biopsy due to suspicious mammographic findings at the Interventional Radiology Centre of the Florence Nightingale Hospital between January 2010, and April 2013. Statistical analysis was carried out using Pearson’s Chi-square, continuity correction, and Fisher’s exact tests.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 47 years (range: 36-70). Biopsies were performed due to BIRADS 3 lesions in 8 patients, BIRADS 4 lesions in 77 patients, and BIRADS 5 lesions in 3 patients. Mammography elucidated clusters of microcalcifications in 73 patients (83%) and focal lesions (asymmetrical density, distortion) in 15 patients (17%). In terms of complications, 1 patient had a hematoma, and 2 patients had ecchymoses (3/88; 3.3%). The histopathologic results revealed benign lesions in 63 patients (71.6%) and malignant lesions in 25 patients (28.4%). The mean duration of the procedure was 37 minutes (range: 18-55). Although all of the BIRADS 3 lesions were benign, 22 (28.6%) of the BIRADS 4 lesions and all of the BIRADS 5 lesions were malignant. Among the malignant cases, 80% were in situ, and 20% were invasive carcinomas. These patients underwent surgery.
Conclusions: In cases where non-palpable breast lesions are considered to be suspicious in mammography scans, the vacuum-assisted core biopsy method provides an accurate histopathologic diagnosis thus preventing a significant number of patients undergoing unnecessary surgical procedures.