Columnar cell lesions of the breast are increasingly recognized at mammography for their tendency to calcify. We studied 392 vacuum-assisted core biopsies performed solely for calcifications to evaluate the frequency of columnar cell lesions, their relationship with radiological risk, appearance of calcifications, and clinical data. Management and follow-up of columnar cell lesions without and with atypia (flat epithelial atypia) was analyzed. Cases with architectural atypia (cribriform spaces and/or micropapillae) were excluded from flat epithelial atypia. Calcifications were within the lumen of acini affected by columnar cell lesions in 137 out of 156 biopsies diagnosed with some columnar cell lesions. These represented 37% of vacuum-assisted core biopsies and 62% of low radiological risk (BI-RADS3) calcifications. High-risk (BI-RADS5) calcifications were never associated with columnar cell lesions. Age and menopausal status were comparable in columnar and in not-columnar cell lesions. Atypia was associated with long-term hormone replacement therapy in both lesions. Surgical biopsy was recommended for all cases with atypia. Flat epithelial atypia, as the only histological findings on vacuum-assisted core biopsies, was never associated with malignancy at surgery. In conclusion, we suggest that surgical excision is not mandatory when flat epithelial atypia is found as the most advanced lesion on vacuum-assisted core biopsy performed for low radiological risk calcifications, and that women should be advised of the possible hormone dependency of this entity.
- Columnar cell lesions
- Flat epithelial lesion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine