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July 1990

Accuracy of Combined Clinical-Mammographic-Cytologic Diagnosis of Dominant Breast Masses: A Prospective Study

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Butler, Vargas, and Wilson) and Radiology (Dr Worthen), Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif.

Arch Surg. 1990;125(7):893-896. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1990.01410190091014

• Excisional biopsy is considered a mandatory part of the workup for patients with dominant breast masses. To evaluate the efficacy of a combined physical, mammographic, and fineneedle aspiration cytologic examination, 113 women were prospectively evaluated. Breast masses were listed as either benign or suspicious/malignant. All patients underwent a subsequent biopsy. Fifty-two (46%) of 113 patients had a malignant mass. The sensitivity and specificity of the individual tests were as follows: 96% and 66% for the physical examination; 94% and 73% for the mammographic examination; 90% and 93% for the fine-needle aspiration cytologic examination. For the 86 patients who underwent all three studies, the 25 patients with benign test results on all three examinations had a benign pathologic result. One (6%) of 18 patients with a single suspicious/malignant test result had cancer, 9(64%) of 14 patients with two suspicious/malignant test results and 28 (97%) of 29 patients with three suspicious/malignant results also had breast cancer. We conclude that the combined triad of physical, mammographic, and fine-needle aspiration cytologic examinations is highly accurate in the diagnosis of breast masses, and patients in whom all three examination results are benign can be safely observed, obviating the need for an open biopsy.

(Arch Surg. 1990;125:893-896)