Utility of diagnostic breast excision biopsies during two decades of screening mammography

Jacky D. Luiten*, Adri C. Voogd, Vivianne C. G. Tjan-Heijnen, Jelle Wesseling, Ernest J. T. Luiten, Lucien E. M. Duijm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Web of Science)


Introduction: We evaluated the use and value of breast surgical excision biopsies for diagnostic purposes over the last decades in women undergoing mammographic screening, either as a primary procedure or following an inconclusive percutaneous biopsy.

Methods: All women with an excision biopsy among 817,656 screens, obtained from January 1997 to January 2017, were included.

Results: Of 18,593 recalled women (recall rate, 2.3%) with screen-detected abnormalities, 908 (4.9%) underwent excision biopsy. Of these, 411 (45.3%) were performed as first diagnostic intervention, decreasing from 4.3 per 1000 screens in 1997-1998 to 0 per 1000 screens in 2015-2016. The remaining 497 (54.7%) excision biopsies were performed secondary to pathologic findings at percutaneous biopsy. During 1997-1998, 1.0 secondary biopsies per 1000 screens were performed, decreasing to 0.3 per 1000 in 2005-2006 and afterwards increased to 0.6 per 1000 in 2015-2016 (p = 0.003). Of all 487 secondary biopsies, 303 (61.0%) had a benign pathology outcome, increasing from 40.4% in 1997-1998 to 70.2% in 2015-2016. Of all 211 biopsies in the three most recent cohorts (2011-2016) the overall upgrade rate was 26.5%, consisting of 39 (18.5%) DCIS (27 low grade) and 17 (8.1%) invasive carcinomas.

Conclusions: Although the use of excision biopsy significantly decreased over the past two decades, we observed a significant increased rate in more recent years. Since the vast majority of currently performed excision biopsies reveals a benign diagnosis or shows low grade DCIS, a secondary excision biopsy should only be considered if radiologic surveillance and repeated percutaneous biopsy continues to yield indeterminate results. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Breast cancer screening
  • Excision biopsy
  • Diagnostics
  • Surgery

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