Flat Epithelial Atypia in Breast Core Needle Biopsies With Radiologic-Pathologic Concordance: Is Excision Necessary?Am J Surg Pathol. 2020 02; 44(2):182-190.AJ
Flat epithelial atypia (FEA) is an alteration of terminal duct lobular units by a proliferation of ductal epithelium with low-grade atypia. No consensus exists on whether the diagnosis of FEA in core needle biopsy (CNB) requires excision (EXC). We retrospectively identified all in-house CNBs obtained between January 2012 and July 2018 with FEA. We reviewed all CNB slides and assessed radiologic-pathologic concordance. An upgrade was defined as invasive carcinoma (IC) and/or ductal carcinoma in situ in the EXC. The EXC slides of all upgraded cases were rereviewed. Out of ∼15,700 consecutive CNBs in the study period, 106 CNBs from 106 patients yielded FEA alone or with classic lobular neoplasia (LN). We excluded 52 CNBs (40 patients with prior/concurrent carcinoma and 12 without EXC). After rereview, we reclassified 14 cases (2 marked nuclear atypia, 10 focal atypical ductal hyperplasia, 2 benign). The final FEA study cohort consisted of 40 CNBs from 40 women. The CNB targeted mammographic calcifications in 36 (90%) cases, magnetic resonance imaging nonmass enhancement in 3 (8%), and 1 (2%) sonographic mass. All CNBs were deemed radiologic-pathologic concordant. FEA was present alone in 34 CNBs and with LN in 6. EXC yielded 2 low-grade IC, each spanning <2 mm, identified in tissue sections without biopsy site changes. The remaining 38 cases had no upgrade. Classic LN did not affect the upgrade. The upgrade rate of FEA was 5%; both minute, low-grade "incidental" IC. We conclude that nonsurgical management may be considered in patients without prior/concurrent carcinoma and radiologic-pathologic concordant CNB diagnosis of FEA.