Public Release: 

If core breast biopsy shows minimal abnormal cells, surgical excision is still necessary

American College of Radiology

Even if core breast biopsy results show only very minimal or focal evidence of abnormal cells, the lesion should be surgically removed to determine whether the woman has cancer, a new study emphasizes.

Researchers at Nyack Hospital in New York compared the core biopsy results to the surgical excision results of 24 women. The women in the study had undergone a core biopsy and the tissue that was removed was examined under a microscope; the tissue was determined to have "minimal or focal evidence of a high risk lesion," said Catherine Giess, MD, lead author of the study. The cells were not completely normal, but they did not classify as cancer cells pathologically, she said. However, when the lesions were surgically removed and the tissue was examined under the microscope, 11.8% of the patients had cancer, she said. The atypical cells may be an indicator that cancerous cells exist in tissue that wasn't removed in the core biopsy, said Dr. Giess.

Currently it is standard to have a woman undergo a surgical excision if there are atypical cells. The study was done to determine if these women need to have a surgical excision, she said. The study emphasized that "yes, they do to help ensure that cancer is not missed," Dr. Giess said.

Dr. Giess, who is now director of breast imaging at Northeast Radiology in Mount Kisco, NY, will present the study on May 4 during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, FL.


Keri J. Sperry 703-858-4306; 703-919-8536
Jason Ocker 703-858-4304
Press Room 786-276-1351

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