Complex sclerosing lesion: the lesion is complex, the management is straightforward

Ung, Owen A., Lee, Warwick B., Greenberg, Merle L. and Bilous, Michael (2001) Complex sclerosing lesion: the lesion is complex, the management is straightforward. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery, 71 1: 35-40. doi:10.1046/j.1440-1622.2001.02003.x

Author Ung, Owen A.
Lee, Warwick B.
Greenberg, Merle L.
Bilous, Michael
Title Complex sclerosing lesion: the lesion is complex, the management is straightforward
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-8682
Publication date 2001-01-01
Year available 2001
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1046/j.1440-1622.2001.02003.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 71
Issue 1
Start page 35
End page 40
Total pages 6
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Complex sclerosing lesion (CSL) and its smaller counterpart, the radial scar (RS), are frequently seen pathological entities. They are clinically asymptomatic and, prior to the implementation of mammographic screening, were most commonly found incidentally during pathological examination of other biopsied lesions. Complex sclerosing lesions are being detected regularly on mammograms due to widespread screening; many of their features resemble those of malignancy. Management varies and has been controversial.

Methods: Twenty-three cases of CSL detected during the first prevalent round of screening at BreastScreen Western Sydney (from February 1993 until June 1995) are presented and reviewed. Assessment was by a combination of radiological, clinical and cytological work-up prior to surgical biopsy. In addition, 126 spiculated carcinomas detected in the same period were reviewed and compared.

Results: Fourteen RS/CSL (62%) had lucent centres and nine (38%) had a central mass; three had been diagnosed provisionally as RS/CSL. Spicule lengths ranged from 25 to 90 mm; central masses ranged from 5 to 50 mm; and mass:spicule length ratio ranged from 1.2:1 to 1:10. Calcification (benign or indeterminate) was present in six cases (29%). No RS/CSL contained 'suspicious' calcifications, whereas 120 of 126 carcinomas (95%) had a central mass and six (5%) had a lucent centre (spicule lengths: 10-90 mm; central mass: 5-40 mm; and mass:spicule length ratio: 1.1:1-1:10). Twenty-one spiculated carcinomas (17%) contained microcalcifications (14 benign or indeterminate; seven suspicious). Provisional radiological diagnosis (PRD) after mammogram, with or without ultrasound, for histologically confirmed RS/CSL, was RS/CSL in 18 cases (78%), carcinoma in four cases (17%) and equivocal in one case (5%). For eight (6.5%) spiculate carcinomas the PRD was RS/CSL prior to histological diagnosis. The RS/CSL were detected with equal frequency in right and left breasts, and 22 (96%) lesions occurred in the upper breast. Seven RS/CSL (31%) and 83 spiculated carcinomas (65%) had been described as 'palpable' but most were subtle. Twelve fine-needle aspiration biopsies were performed (six 'palpable' lesions (no radiological guidance); four with ultrasound guidance and two with stereotactic guidance), and five (62.5%) of eight adequate lesions were reported as benign, two (25%) were reported as atypical, and one (12.5%) was reported as suspicious.

Conclusions: Definitive mammographic and sonographic differentiation of RS/CSL and stellate-type carcinoma is impossible. For screen-detected lesions that may be RS/CSL, the appropriate surgical procedure is a small but adequate biopsy using guidewire or other localization methods with optimal cosmetic incision.
Keyword Benign breast
Black star
Breast cancer
Complex sclerosing lesion
Mammographic screening
Radial scar
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 13 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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