Fine-needle versus core-needle biopsy – which one to choose in preoperative assessment of focal lesions in the breasts? Literature review
J Ultrason 2017; 17: 267–274
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2017.0039

Aim: The aim of the study was to review two techniques that can be used to verify focal lesions in the breasts: fine-needle aspiration biopsy and core-needle biopsy. Material and methods: Fifty-five articles (original papers and reviews), half of them published within the past 5 years, were included in the analysis. The authors also took their own experience into account. Results: Pre-operative assessment of focal lesions in the breasts is crucial in the planning of further therapeutic management. The role of fine-needle aspiration biopsy has been reduced lately due to its low sensitivity and specificity as well as a high rate of non-diagnostic, suspicious and false negative results. This method does not enable one to differentiate between in situ and invasive disease. Currently, fine-needle biopsy is recommended for cystic lesions, suspected of being recurrences in the chest wall, and lymph node metastases. Core-needle biopsy is the basic diagnostic method of breast lesions. According to the recommendations of the Polish Ultrasound Society and American College of Radiology, BIRADS 4 and 5 lesions should be evaluated histopathologically. Core-needle biopsy makes it possible to establish a final diagnosis more frequently than fine-needle biopsy, both in the case of benign and malignant lesions. It delivers more information about the nature of a tumor (mutation of HER-2, estrogen and progesterone receptors and Ki-67 index). Its limitations include: underestimation of invasion and failure to recognize the components of ductal carcinoma in situ in papillary and atypical lesions. Single fine-needle aspiration biopsy is inexpensive, but when considering the cost of further diagnosis due to non-diagnostic, suspicious and atypical results, this method generates high additional costs. Conclusions: Microscopic verification of focal breast lesions is crucial for further therapeutic decisions. It has been proven that histopathological verification is more accurate and has more advantages than cytological assessment.

Key words: core-needle biopsy, fine-needle aspiration biopsy, atypical ductal hyperplasia, ductal carcinoma in situ, papillary lesions