Breast specimen microcalcifications: radiographic validation and pathologic-radiologic correlation

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Department of Radiology

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Breast; Breast Neoplasms; Calcinosis; Carcinoma; Carcinoma in Situ; Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating; Carcinoma, Papillary; Diagnosis, Differential; *Histological Techniques; Humans; *Mammography; Microtomy; Prospective Studies


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


A prospective analysis of specimens from location and biopsy of mammographically suspect microcalcifications in 108 patients was carried out to determine if microcalcifications were lost during histopathologic processing and the clinical relevance of such loss. Nine hundred sixty-eight paraffin blocks were prepared from 425 gross tissue slices containing calcifications identified at radiography of the specimens. Calcium was apparently lost both during preparation of the blocks (13.6%) and after slide preparation (12.6%), for a total possible loss of 26.2%. All specimens demonstrated calcification histologically. One pathology report was amended because of information obtained after recuts, but all cancers were detected on original slides whether or not calcifications were identified initially. The results indicate that, by following the suggestions offered to ensure adequate histopathologic sampling of calcification seen at mammography, most if not all of the calcification present can be detected on the original slide.


Radiology. 1991 Aug;180(2):397-401.

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