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Rationale of Excisional Biopsy After the Diagnosis of Benign Radial Scar on Core Biopsy: A Single Institutional Outcome Analysis

Andacoglu, Oya MD*; Kanbour-Shakir, Amal MD, PhD; Teh, Yew-Ching MD*; Bonaventura, Marguerite MD*; Ozbek, Umut MS; Anello, Maria DO§; Ganott, Marie MD§; Kelley, Joseph MD; Dirican, Abuzer MD*; Soran, Atilla MD, MPH, FACS*

American Journal of Clinical Oncology: February 2013 - Volume 36 - Issue 1 - p 7–11
doi: 10.1097/COC.0b013e3182354a3f
Original Articles: Breast

Background: Radial scar (RS) is characterized by a fibroelastic core with entrapped ducts and lobules. Association with carcinoma is not uncommon. There is some dilemma as to the need for excisional biopsy or follow-up after RS diagnosis on core biopsy.

Aim: To determine the necessity of excisional biopsy after the diagnosis of benign RS by core biopsy.

Study Design: A total of 67 RS specimens associated with benign findings on core biopsy obtained between 2003 and 2008 were reviewed. They were grouped by their accompanying histopathologic features found upon subsequent surgical excision: benign, high-risk lesion (HRL), or carcinoma. Demographic features, radiologic findings, and needle gauge were compared within subgroups.

Results: After surgical excision, 15 (22.4%) patients in the benign group were upgraded to a HRL, 4 (5.9%) patients were upgraded to carcinoma, and 48 (71.6%) remained benign. We found that malignancy is associated with RS more frequently if the patient is older and postmenopausal. Other variables such as symptoms at presentation, presence and type of abnormality on mammography (Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System score), breast density, size of biopsy needle used, and number of core samples retrieved did not help to predict the presence of carcinoma.

Conclusions: The HRL and cancer upgrade rate of RS, requiring further intervention such as surgery or chemoprevention, is 28% in this study. However, we found that age and menopausal status may be taken into consideration when making the decision to follow up or excise the RS diagnosed on core biopsy. There is insufficient data to support the predictive value of any variables. Therefore, RS associated with benign findings on core biopsy should be excised.

*Departments of Surgical Oncology




Obstetrics and Gynecology, Magee-Womens Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

This research was presented at the following symposia: 15th Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease and the 1st International Breast Health Education Program, Cairo, Egypt, October 2009; 10th Turkish National Breast Symposium, Cesme, Turkey, 2009.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Atilla Soran, MD, MPH, FACS, Surgery, Magee-Womens Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 300 Halket Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. E-mail:

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc