Underestimation of breast cancer with II-gauge vacuum sunction biopsy

L. E. Philpotts, C. H. Lee, L. J. Horvath, R. C. Lange, D. Carter, I. Tocino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to determine the mammographic and histologic features of cancerous lesions underestimated using 11-gauge vacuum suction biopsy. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Retrospective review of 11-gauge vacuum suction biopsy was performed to identify lesions diagnosed as atypical ductal hyperplasia or carcinoma. The histology of the core and surgical specimens was compared. Of 158 cases of cancer, underestimation occurred in 15 (9.5%). The mammographic and histologic features were assessed. RESULTS. Of 15 underestimated cases, six were atypical ductal hyperplasia that proved to be cancer (5 ductal carcinoma in situ and 1 invasive) and nine were ductal carcinoma in situ that proved to have invasion. The underestimation rate for calcifications was 16.3% (14/86) and for masses was 1.6% (1/64) (p = 0.007). Most (5/6) underestimated atypical ductal hyperplasia cases were reported as 'markedly atypical,' and four of nine underestimated ductal carcinoma in situ cases were reported as 'possible invasion.' No significant difference was seen in the number of core specimens obtained or the sizes of the lesions for underestimated cases versus accurately diagnosed cases. The percentage of calcifications retrieved was significantly different (p = 0.017). No underestimations were found among cases in which the entire mammographic lesion was removed at vacuum suction biopsy. CONCLUSION. The cancer underestimation rate with vacuum suction biopsy was 9.5%. The underestimation rate for calcifications (16.3%) was significantly higher than that for masses (1.6%) (p = 0.007). The percentage of the lesion removed was an important factor in reducing underestimation, as reflected by the percentage of calcifications retrieved and the instances of complete resolution of the lesion seen on mammography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1047-1050
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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