Stereotactic core needle biopsy (SCNB) is used in the diagnostic assessment of suspicious mammographic calcifications to rule out breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). With advances in imaging technology and increased biopsy tissue volume, the detection rate of calcifications and DCIS in SCNB is unclear.
This retrospective study included 916 consecutive SCNBs for calcifications performed on 893 patients in a 2-year period.
We found the cancer detection rate was 27.1% (DCIS, 23.7%; invasive, 3.4%). The detection rate for calcifications was 74.8% with the standard 3 levels. Additional leveling of calcification-negative cases further increased the detection of both calcifications (to 99.4% of cases) and DCIS (to 32.9% of cases). Lobular neoplasia (LN) was diagnosed in 41 cases. Twenty-five (61.0%) cases of LN were incidental without associated calcification. Of 32 invasive carcinomas detected on SCNB, 87.5% were T1a or less, and calcifications were associated with atypical ductal hyperplasia/DCIS or LCIS. The common benign lesions associated with calcifications were fibrocystic change (32.5%), fibroadenomatous change (30.2%), and columnar cell change and hyperplasia (8.2%).
We determined the up-to-date detection rates of calcification and DCIS in SCNB, as well as the common benign and malignant breast lesions associated with calcifications. Additional levels significantly increase the detection rate when standard levels show only stromal or scant/absent calcifications. Lobular neoplasia is often an incidental finding in SCNB for calcifications. When calcifications are present with LN, they are commonly florid, pleomorphic LCIS, or with concurrent invasive carcinoma.

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