Tubular carcinoma of the breast: sensitivity of diagnostic techniques and correlation with histopathology.AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1999 Feb; 172(2):319-23.AA
Our objective was to assess our experience in diagnosing pure tubular carcinoma of the breast and to correlate the radiologic and histopathologic features.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
A retrospective review of 932 consecutive cases of proven breast cancer diagnosed between 1990 and 1997 revealed 78 cases (8.4%) of tubular carcinoma in 69 patients. Clinical, imaging, cytologic, and histologic findings were analyzed.
Mammography revealed tubular carcinoma in 68 (87%) of the 78 cases. Sonography showed tubular carcinoma in all 38 cases in which it was used; nine of these lesions were mammographically occult. These nine lesions were slightly, but not significantly (p < .05), smaller than the 29 lesions that had also been detected on mammography. Large core needle biopsy was performed in 22 patients (sensitivity, 91%). At biopsy, diagnoses were malignant (n = 16 [73%]), suspicious (n = 4 [18%]), atypia (n = 1 [4.5%]), and benign (n = 1 [4.5%]). Fine-needle aspiration biopsy was used to evaluate 36 cases of tubular carcinoma (sensitivity, 50%); cytologic diagnoses were malignant (n = 15 [42%]), suspicious (n = 3 [8%]), atypia (n = 10 [28%]), and benign (n = 8 [22%]). Only 15 (19%) of the 78 tubular carcinomas were palpable. Other tumors were detected within the excised tissue in 47 of the patients (68%); of these other types of lesions, ductal carcinoma in situ was found most often.
Most cases of tubular carcinoma can be revealed by mammography; for mammographically occult tubular carcinoma, sonography can be performed. The rate of accuracy for determining the presence of tubular carcinoma is higher with large core needle biopsy than with fine-needle aspiration biopsy. Finally, when tubular carcinoma is diagnosed, other histologic types of carcinoma often occur in the same breast.