Increasing the diagnosis of multifocal primary breast cancer by the use of bilateral whole-breast ultrasound


      The aim of this study was to evaluate the contribution of bilateral whole-breast ultrasound (BBUS) to the diagnosis and management of women with newly diagnosed breast cancer.


      Over a period of 6 months, 102 women presenting with breast cancer underwent BBUS. Data were collected on clinical findings, radiology, histology and surgical outcome. These women were compared with a control group of 124 women presenting over a similar 6-month period 1 year previously, who had undergone targeted breast ultrasound.


      Multicentric/multifocal tumours were demonstrated in 35 (34%) of the 102 participants and in 18 (15%) of the 124 controls, a statistically significant difference (Fisher's exact test, p=0.001). Multiple tumours were diagnosed preoperatively in 18% of the study population compared with 8% of the controls, and BBUS identified invasive multifocal/multicentric tumours in significantly more women in the study population (11 versus 1 control) (Fisher's exact test, p=0.019). Contralateral cancer was diagnosed in 4 women in the study population and none in the control population (Fisher's exact test, p=0.040). Surgical review showed that the surgical management changed significantly in 8% (95% confidence interval 4 to 14%) of cases in the study population following BBUS. The increase in the number of women undergoing benign biopsies in the study population (10 versus 5 controls) was not statistically significant (Fisher's exact test, p=0.11).


      BBUS increased the preoperative diagnosis of multiple tumours in women presenting with primary breast cancer, resulting in a management change in 8% of cases.


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