Mammographic characteristics and vacuum-assisted breast biopsy (VABB) of non-palpable breast lesions

Vincenzo Ventrella, Antonio Tufaro, Francesco A. Zito, Maria Addante, Baldassarre Stea, Rosalba Dentamaro, Cosimo D'Amico, Angelo Paradiso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The new imaging technology made available today allows for an early detection of small subclinical breast lesions which frequently call for guided presurgical micro-histology. Purpose: To evaluate the relationship between vacuum-assisted breast biopsy (VABB) histopathological diagnoses and mammographic findings in non-palpable breast lesions. Material and Methods: The breast lesions of 1393 women who had received consecutive screening mammograms between 2001 and 2007 were assessed by VABB. The mammographic breast lesions, classified according to the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS), were subjected to VABB only if rated as highly suspicious (2%), suspicious (64.5%) for malignancy, or probably benign (33.5%). Results: VABB findings included 981 (70.5%) probably benign lesions, 407 (29.2%) suspicious/malignant lesions, and five (0.3%) cases which were considered as inappropriate for diagnostic purposes. At histology, 10.2% of the suspicious/malignant lesions were classified as proliferative lesions, 11.1% as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), and 8% as invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). The positive predictive value (PPV) of BI-RADS assessment categories 3, 4 and 5 was 4.1%, 25.3% and 75%, respectively. The occurrence of obscured or spiculated masses was found to exhibit the highest PPV for malignancy (12.5% in BI-RADS 3 and 63% in BI-RADS 4), followed by microcalcifications which showed a malignancy rate of 6.4% in BI-RADS 3, and 20% in BI-RADS 4. Conclusion: VABB turns out to be effective in the assessment of many malignant and benign preclinical tumour lesions thus allowing for a significant reduction of the number of surgical biopsies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-607
Number of pages6
JournalActa Radiologica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • Breast biopsies
  • Breast mammography
  • Breast neoplasm
  • VABB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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