Value of Long-term Follow-up in Surgically Excised Lesions of Uncertain Malignant Potential in the Breast – Is 5 Years Necessary?


      • Patients with surgically excised B3 lesions do not benefit from clinical surveillance.
      • Clinicians should consider other factors when deciding length of follow-up.
      • Subsequent development of invasive cancers in surgically excised B3 lesions remains rare.



      B3 lesions are a heterogeneous group of breast lesions of uncertain malignant potential which usually require excision. The aim was to assess the efficacy of 5 years routine radiological or clinical follow-up of patients who had “high-risk” B3 lesions surgically excised, by analyzing recurrence and subsequent development of invasive/in-situ cancer.

      Patients and Methods

      A 10-year retrospective review from 2010 to 2019 was performed of B3 lesions diagnosed on core needle biopsy, including patients who proceeded to surgical excision with a high-risk lesion on final histology. The database recorded 6 specific B3 lesion categories: 1. Atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), 2. Radial scars/complex sclerosing lesions (CSLs) with epithelial atypia 3. Classical Lobular neoplasia (ALH/LCIS), 4. Papillary lesions with epithelial atypia, 5. Mixed, 6. Flat epithelial atypia (FEA), including radiological and clinical follow-up data.


      Six hundred sixteen patients had a B3 lesion after core biopsy. 110 patients had “high risk” lesions. This included 17 (15.5%) Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia (ADH), 22 (20%) radial scars/CSLs with epithelial atypia, 47 (42.7%) classical lobular neoplasia (LCIS/ALH), 7 (6.4%) papillary lesions with epithelial atypia, 13 (11.8%) mixed lesions & 4 (3.6%) Flat Epithelial Atypia (FEA) lesions. 4 of 110 (3.6%) developed invasive/in-situ disease and 4 of 110 (3.6%) developed recurrence during follow-up. 33 of 616 (5.4%) upgraded to invasive/preinvasive disease after surgical excision.


      Five years of routine radiological surveillance may not be necessary in patients who undergo surgical excision of “high-risk” B3 lesions. Clinical surveillance appears to be of little benefit, especially in patients with radial scars, papillary lesions, and FEA. Subsequent development of invasive/in-situ disease in patients who undergo surgical excision of atypical B3 lesions remains low.


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      1. Accessed from: Accessed date: July 2nd 2021.