Mammography: How to Interpret Microcalcifications

  • Ulrich Bick


Almost half of all breast cancers are associated with calcifications on mammography; in many cases, calcifications are the only sign of breast cancer. However, calcifications may also occur in a variety of benign breast changes [1], and careful classification and interpretation of breast calcifications is the key to a correct diagnosis. It is also important to realize that a large overlap between benign and malignant calcifications exists (Fig. 1), and often, confirmation or exclusion of malignancy can only be achieved by obtaining tissue for histological analysis. There are several criteria by which benign and malignant breast calcifications can be distinguished, such as size, number, morphology, distribution, change over time, and associated findings or symptoms [2]. The Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS®) Atlas of the American College of Radiology (ACR) provides an organized framework for description and classification of mammographic calcifications [3] and has found wide-spread acceptance around the world. Wherever applicable, standardized terms from the BI-RADS® lexicon are used in this manuscript.


Digital Mammography Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Flat Epithelial Atypia Lobular Neoplasia Bloody Nipple Discharge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Bick
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Radiologie, CCM, CharitéUniversitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany

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