Proliferative disease and atypia in biopsies performed for nonpalpable lesions detected mammographically

Eva Rubin, Daniel W. Visscher, Ronald W. Alexander, Marshall M. Urist, William A. Maddox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


A recent study of risk factors for breast cancer indicated elevated risks of 5.3 and 1.9 times, respectively, for women with biopsy specimens showing atypical hyperplasia (AH) and proliferative disease without atypia. These risks increase to 11 and 3.2 times, respectively, in women who also have a family history of breast cancer. This study reviews lesions detected mammographically in a series of patients with documented risk factors. The pathologic specimens of 100 consecutive localization breast biopsies performed for nonpalpable abnormalities detected mammographically were reviewed and classified according to the criteria of Dupont and Page in order to determine the incidence of AH and proliferative breast disease. The mammographic characteristics and historical risk factors of these women also were correlated. Twenty percent of the biopsy specimens showed carcinomas, 55% of which were noninvasive. AH was found in an additional 10% of the biopsy specimens, whereas proliferative disease without atypia occurred in 21% of the biopsy specimens. Forty‐nine percent of the biopsy specimens showed nonproliferative changes. This study demonstrated that mammography, in addition to its ability to detect small nonpalpabie cancers, identifies a high percentage (31% in this series) of women with pathologic lesions known to have an elevated risk for subsequent breast cancer. The current impetus for large‐scale mammographic screening of asymptomatic women mandates the development of rational therapeutic protocols to accommodate the widening spectrum of high‐risk pathologic lesions found in these selected populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2077-2082
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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