• Open Access

Pure flat epithelial atypia is uncommon in subsequent breast excisions for atypical epithelial proliferation



The management of atypical intraductal lesions of the breast remains controversial. In the present study, the subsequent surgical excision results and follow-up data on 86 (3.65%) atypical intraductal lesions and 78 (3.31%) low-grade ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) from a cohort of 2358 needle biopsies were examined. There were 17 cases (0.72%) of pure flat epithelial atypia (FEA), 44 (1.87%) pure atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), three (0.13%) pure atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH), 18 (0.76%) combined ADH + FEA, three (0.13%) combined ALH + FEA and one (0.04%) combined ALH + FEA + ADH. Subsequent surgical excisions were done in 53 cases and revealed the following incidences of malignancy: pure FEA (1/8); pure ADH (17/31); FEA + ADH (7/10); FEA + ALH (2/3); and FEA + ALH + ADH (0/1), with pure FEA showing significantly lower incidence of malignancy. In this cohort, there were 703 carcinomas including 155 DCIS with 78 cases (50.3%) being low-grade. FEA with ADH (and/or ALH) was present in 22 (28.2%) of these 78 cases of low-grade DCISs at surgical excisions. Pure FEA was not detected in any of the subsequently excised surgical materials of the atypical intraductal lesions nor the low-grade DCISs. Thus, pure FEA was very unusual in surgical specimens. When pure FEA is detected at needle biopsy, a wait and see approach can be adopted. However, when the FEA is associated with other concomitant atypical intraductal lesions, especially ADH, further excision should be contemplated. (Cancer Sci, doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2012.02314.x, 2012)