Objective: To evaluate the importance of microcalcifications in the detection of breast carcinoma in conventional mammography.Methods: This prospective study was carried out at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH). Mammograms of 68 patients with microcalcifications were evaluated. Craniocaudal and oblique views of both breasts were acquired on routine basis with cone compression and magnified views when required.Results: Among 68 patients with microcalcifications, 61 (89%) had clustered microcalcifications while 7 patients (10.29%) had scattered microcalcifications. Microcalcifications can occur in benign and malignant diseases. While evaluating clustered microcalcifications, few criteria have been established to determine malignant clustered microcalcifications, these include specific and nonspecific criteria. Among specific and statistically significant criteria for malignant microcalcifications, which were identified in this study, were irregularity of size, irregularity of density, linear or branched shape and Le Gal's type V distribution. In a cluster total number of >30 microcalcifications and at least 10 microcalcifications/cm2 of a cluster are also important in diagnosing a malignant cluster, but are included in nonspecific criteria because they can be present in benign diseases also. Scattered bilateral microcalcifications are usually present in benign breast diseases, but in this study, two patients with breast cancer had profuse bilateral scattered microcalcifications.CONCLUSION: This study shows that specific and statistically significant criteria for malignant microcalcifications, are irregularity of size, irregularity of density, linear or branched shape and Le Gal's type V distribution. Scattered bilateral microcalcifications are usually present in benign breast diseases, but irregular shape and development of new calcifications among diffusely scattered bilateral calcifications, on follow up study, should also raise suspicion for being malignant.
Journal of Pakistan Medical Association
(2004). Mammographic criteria for determining the diagnostic value of microcalcifications in the detection of early breast cancer. Journal of Pakistan Medical Association, 54(1), 24-29.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_radiol/213
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