When is a diagnosis of sclerosing adenosis acceptable at core biopsy?

Harmindar K. Gill, Olga B. Ioffe, Wendie A. Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To determine concordance of imaging findings and diagnosis of sclerosing adenosis at histopathologic core biopsy and to establish the accuracy of core biopsy when cancer was coexistent. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From a database of 1,166 percutaneous biopsies in which sclerosing adenosis was reported, 88 (7.5%) lesions were identified, and imaging and histopathologic findings were reviewed for concordance. Sclerosing adenosis proved to be a minor component at core biopsy for 44 lesions, including one invasive ductal carcinoma, one ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), one focus of atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), and one atypical lobular hyperplasia. Sclerosing adenosis was a major (≥50%) component for 44 lesions, including four malignancies, all DCIS manifested as clustered calcifications (pleomorphic [n = 2] or amorphous [n = 2]), and seven foci of ADH manifested as amorphous calcifications. In 30 patients with 33 lesions without atypia or malignancy, sclerosing adenosis was the major finding at core biopsy (21 lesions at 14-gauge core biopsy and 12 at 11-gauge vacuum-assisted biopsy); these patients formed the study population. Mammographic (33 lesions) and sonographic (18 lesions) features were recorded. Twenty-seven lesions had at least 20-month follow-up (n = 25) or excision (n = 2). RESULTS: One spiculated mass was considered discordant and was excised, showing a prospectively unrecognized radial sclerosing lesion with several 2-5-mm foci of invasive tubular and lobular carcinoma. Seventeen (53%) of 32 lesions manifested as masses; 10 (59%) were circumscribed, five (29%) were indistinctly marginated (one with punctate calcifications), and two (12%) were partially circumscribed and partially obscured (one with amorphous calcifications). Fifteen (47%) lesions manifested as clustered calcifications, nine (60%) were amorphous and indistinct, four (27%) were pleomorphic, and two (13%) were punctate. Of 27 lesions with acceptable follow-up, 26 (96%) were believed to have been accurately sampled at core biopsy. Of six radial sclerosing lesions associated with the original 88 lesions, only three (50%) were prospectively recognized. CONCLUSION: Sclerosing adenosis is an acceptable result at core biopsy of circumscribed masses and nonpalpable indistinctly marginated masses and for clustered amorphous, pleomorphic, and punctate calcifications. Recognition and reporting of coexistent radial sclerosing lesions is encouraged and may prompt excision. Malignancy can be seen with sclerosing adenosis; core biopsy was accurate in six (86%) of seven coexistent malignancies in this series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-57
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003


  • Breast, biopsy
  • Breast, diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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