Ultrasound BI-RADS might need some fine-tuning

August 1, 2005

Breast cancers missed by mammography could have been misclassified as benign lesions by ultrasound to begin with, according to a study presented at the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine meeting in Orlando in June.

Breast cancers missed by mammography could have been misclassified as benign lesions by ultrasound to begin with, according to a study presented at the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine meeting in Orlando in June.

Dr. Dona J. Hills and colleagues from the Queens-Long Island Medical Group in New York found that 41 cancers matched current BI-RADS 2 and 3 assignments, based on their original ultrasound descriptions. They also found that 23 of the 41 had benign or negative findings on mammography. Physicians should be suspicious about ultrasound-detected lesions with atypical features, which can cause false negatives in mammography as well, Hills said.

"If we exclude suspicious findings from the 'probably benign' category and put them into a BI-RADS 4, we might not be underestimating as many cancers as we had underestimated before," she said.