False Positives in Breast Biopsies Do Not Affect Future Adherence to Cancer Screening

April 26, 2018

False positives from stereotactic vacuum-assisted breast biopsies do not appear to dissuade women from continuing with regular screening afterward.

False-positive stereotactic vacuum-assisted breast biopsies (SVABs) do not appear to negatively impact screening mammography adherence, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Researchers from the New York University School of Medicine in New York performed a retrospective review to evaluate whether false-positive SVABs affected subsequent mammographic screening adherence. They reviewed the records of 913 SVABs performed between 2012 to 2014, noting patient age, clinical history, biopsy pathology, and first post-biopsy screening mammogram.

The results showed that of the 913 SVABs reviewed, after excluding malignant or high-risk lesions or biopsies resulting in a recommendation of surgical excision, 395 SVABs yielding benign pathology in 395 women were left. Findings were matched with a control population consisting of 45,126 women who had a BI-RADS 1 or 2 screening mammogram and did not undergo breast biopsy.

A total of 191 of 395 (48.4 percent) women with a biopsy with benign results and 22,668 of 45,126 (50.2 percent) women without biopsy returned for annual follow-up more than 9 months and up to 18 months after the index examination. Another 57 of 395 (14.4 percent) women with a biopsy with benign results and 3,336 of 45,126 (7.4 percent) women without biopsy returned for annual follow-up 18 months after the index examination. The researchers found that older women, women with personal history of breast cancer, and women with post-biopsy complication after benign SVAB were more likely to return for screening.

The researchers concluded the harms of false positives that have been reported may be exaggerated as their study suggested that SVABs with benign results did not negatively impact screening mammography adherence.