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NHS Breast Screening multidisciplinary working group guidelines for the diagnosis and management of breast lesions of uncertain malignant potential on core biopsy (B3 lesions).


  • Pathology


Document Type

Published Date

  • 2018-05


  • Needle core biopsy is considered the histological diagnostic method of choice for screen-detected breast lesions. Although the majority are definitively diagnosed as normal, benign, or malignant, approximately 7% are categorised as B3, of uncertain malignant potential. These include a wide range of lesions with different risks of associated malignancy from <2% to approaching 40% from literature review in UK practice. Historically, these have typically been surgically excised as a diagnostic procedure but the majority are then proven to be benign. An alternative approach, for many of these lesions, is thorough sampling/excision by vacuum-assisted biopsy techniques to exclude the presence of co-existing carcinoma. This would potentially reduce the benign open biopsy rate whilst maintaining accuracy of cancer diagnosis. A group from the Radiology, Surgery, and Pathology NHS Breast Screening Programme Co-ordinating Committees and an additional co-opted expert were charged with review and development of guidelines for the clinical management of B3 lesions. The guidelines reflect suggested practice as stated by the NHS Breast Screening Programme and approved by the Royal College of Radiologists.
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