Core biopsy as alternative to fine-needle aspiration biopsy in diagnosis of breast tumors

M. L. Caruso, G. Gabrieli, G. Marzullo, M. Pirrelli, E. Rizzi, F. Soring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In spite of the widespread use of cytological smears for diagnosis of breast cancer lesions, many surgeons are still reluctant to accept the cytological report as the only criterion for performing definitive surgery. Modern surgical strategy requires a preoperative planning of the surgical treatment, possible through the use of core biopsy, which provides a diagnosis based on tissue specimens, thus permitting the study of both the architectural and cytological patterns. The authors report their five-year experience with this technique and evaluate its diagnostic usefulness and ability to reduce intraoperative biopsy procedures. The histological examination of 92 palpable breast lesions, clinically and mammographically detected, was performed with core biopsy, and diagnosis was confirmed with the surgical sample in 80 cases. A definitive histological diagnosis was obtained with core biopsy in 90% of cases. Only nine cases required confirmation with frozen section diagnosis at the time of definitive surgery. The sensibility of core biopsy was 92%, specificity and predictive value of positive result were 100%, and diagnostic efficiency was 86%. This study confirms the usefulness of systematic use of core biopsy for definitive preoperative diagnosis of breast cancer; the simplicity, safety and low cost of this method also make ultrasound-guided core biopsy applicable to nonpalpable lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-49
Number of pages5
JournalThe oncologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Core biopsy
  • Palpable breast lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology


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