• 17-MAR-2015

Study Examines Diagnostic Accuracy of Pathologists Interpreting Breast Biopsies

More than 1.5 million women in the U.S. have breast biopsies each year. After the biopsy, a pathologist examines the tissue to provide a diagnosis to the patient and her doctor. Results can range from normal or benign cells, precancerous cells to invasive cancer. Misclassification of breast lesions may contribute to either overtreatment or under treatment.

In a new study, researchers enlisted 115 pathologists to interpret a total of 240 test slides containing different samples of breast tissue. The results were compared to a reference standard developed by expert breast pathologists.

Overall, the pathologists and the expert panel were in agreement 96 percent of the time for cases of invasive breast cancer, but in agreement in only 48 percent of the time when dealing with atypical cells or "atypia".