Flat epithelial atypia (FEA) is a borderline lesion that might represent an early stage in the development of certain low-grade carcinomas in situ and invasive cancers. There are no guidelines on its management. Our objectives were to determine the upgrade to malignancy rate and identify a subpopulation of patients that might undergo just mammographic surveillance. We retrospectively reviewed the data for 271 FEA cases among 5,555 breast core biopsies obtained over a 7-year period (January 2003–2010). We collated clinical data (age, history of cancer, menopausal status), radiological data (lesion type, size, Bi-Rads category), technical data (number of biopsies, needle gauge, excision quality) and histological data and sought correlations between these factors and upgrade rate. The 271 FEA comprised 128 cases of pure FEA, 135 cases of FEA + atypical ductal hyperplasia, and 8 cases of FEA + atypical lobular hyperplasia. Overall, 184 patients underwent surgery and 46 mammographic surveillance. Surgery detected 34 cases of malignancy (23 CIS, 7 invasive cancers, and 4 mixed cases) giving a 15% upgrade rate. Quality of excision was the only factor associated with under-diagnosis. The presence of FEA at biopsy warrants surgery.
Breast Vacuum-assisted core biopsy Flat epithelial atypia Upgrade
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I would like to Thank Alain Toledano M.D and Jean-Philippe Brouland, for their valuable assistance for the realization of this article.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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