Columnar Cell Change With Atypia (Flat Epithelial Atypia) on Breast Core Biopsy—Outcomes Following Open Excision


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Ian Bennett, MBBS, FRACS, FACS, 101 Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, Qld 4000, Australia, e-mail:


Columnar cell change with atypia (CCCA) is a relatively recently recognized pathologic breast entity considered to be a risk factor for subsequent development of breast carcinoma. The aim of this study was to investigate the significance of finding CCCA on breast core biopsy, by establishing the frequency of other breast pathology on subsequently performed surgical excision specimens. All cases with CCCA as the most advanced lesion on core biopsy were reviewed. After excision, another advanced proliferative lesion was identified in 17 (33%) patients, including three patients (6%) with in situ or invasive carcinoma. An additional five patients (10%) were concurrently diagnosed with primary breast carcinoma at other sites. These findings indicate that when CCCA is found on core biopsy, open surgical biopsy of the relevant area should be performed and that workup of both breasts should be undertaken to exclude coexistent breast carcinoma at alternative sites.