Clinical breast concerns in low-risk pediatric patients: practice review with proposed recommendations

Linda M Sanders, Pinky Sharma, Miriam El Madany, Alexander B King, Koren S Goodman, Alison Esteva Sanders
Pediatric Radiology 2018, 48 (2): 186-195

BACKGROUND: Fibroadenoma is overwhelmingly the most common pediatric breast lesion. Breast malignancy is quite uncommon in children, most frequently metastatic or hematological malignancy. Core biopsy has largely replaced excision for diagnosis of breast masses in adults.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is two-fold: (1) compare utilization at our institution of interventional procedures vs. surgery for breast mass diagnosis in patients ≤18 years and (2) propose guidelines for breast imaging and biopsy in this population.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We extracted data for all patients ≤18 who, between 2004 and 2016, underwent either (a) imaging and/or intervention procedure, or (b) breast surgery, from the Radiology Information System and Pathology Data System, respectively. We recorded age, gender, imaging, procedure, lesion size and histopathology.

RESULTS: We found 1,050 pediatric patients ≤18 years who underwent diagnostic breast ultrasound between 2004 and 2016. Of these, 168 patients underwent 199 interventional procedures. One hundred thirty patients underwent 160 core biopsies of solid lesions. Core biopsy pathology diagnosed benign lesions in 99%, of which 84.3% were fibroadenomas (n=135). One malignancy was diagnosed, B cell lymphoma. Two hundred three patients underwent surgical excision for 266 discrete lesions, and 89% were fibroadenomas. Seven benign phyllodes tumors were surgically diagnosed. No malignancies were diagnosed.

CONCLUSION: Core biopsy in patients 18 years and younger is well-tolerated, has few risks, and is preferable to surgery in developing breasts, but the goal is to avoid any breast procedure whenever possible. We propose guidelines for pediatric breast imaging, follow-up, core biopsy and excisions.

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