Does exhaustive search for microcalcifications improve diagnostic yield in stereotactic core needle breast biopsies?

Grimes, Margaret M.; Karageorge, Lampros S.; Hogge, Jacquelyn P.; Grimes, M M; Karageorge, L S; Hogge, J P
April 2001
Modern Pathology;Apr2001, Vol. 14 Issue 4, p350
Academic Journal
journal article
Stereotactic core needle biopsy (SCNB) of the breast is a cost-effective alternative to needle localization biopsy for the diagnosis of mammographic calcifications. We questioned whether an exhaustive search for calcium in the small samples obtained in SCNB yields more diagnostic information than that obtained with examination of a standard number of sections. We retrospectively reviewed 168 specimens from 123 patients with mammographic calcifications, including cases in which radiographic suspicion ranged from low to high. Microcalcifications were identified on three initial levels in 112 specimens. Additional sections were examined in 50 specimens. The final diagnosis differed from the diagnosis based on three levels in 11/50 cases (22%). In 6/50 (12%), complete sectioning yielded a specific diagnosis. The increase in technical cost associated with the additional levels was 414% per case. We conclude that exhaustive searching for microcalcifications in SCNB yields a small increase in specific diagnostic information and a high technical cost. In individual cases, the additional information may be critical for appropriate patient management.


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