Relationships between age, mammographic features and pathological tumour characteristics in non-palpable breast cancer.Br J Radiol. 2000 Jul; 73(871):698-705.BJ
Non-palpable breast cancers are often in situ or smaller and have less nodal and distant metastases than palpable lesions. They represent a heterogeneous group of tumours, which may have different prognostic behaviour. We analysed a retrospective series of 982 non-palpable breast cancers assessed histologically at the National Cancer Institute of Milan from 1985 to 1995, following pre-operative mammography-guided localization. The association between mammographic data (parenchymal pattern and findings), patient age and tumour histology was investigated by review of clinical records and statistical modelling. We also investigated the association between the presence or absence of microcalcification as a mammographic finding and pathological tumour characteristics (tumour size, axillary nodes status and grading) or receptor status for oestrogen (ER) and progesterone (PgR). In situ disease or invasive tumour with an intraductal component, whether extensive or not, were commoner in young women and mammography more frequently showed a dense parenchymal pattern and microcalcifications in these cases. In older women (55 years or more), a fatty breast pattern, nodular opacities with or without microcalcifications, and invasive tumours of the ductal, lobular, mixed or other types were closely related. When the relationships between mammographic findings, pathological tumour characteristics and receptor status were investigated for invasive cancers, there was an association between the presence of microcalcifications and less favourable tumour characteristics.