Open Access Research article

The accuracy of frozen section analysis in ultrasound- guided core needle biopsy of breast lesions

Andreas H Brunner1*, Thomas Sagmeister1, Jolanta Kremer1, Paul Riss1 and Hermann Brustmann2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology, Landesklinikum Moedling/Vienna, Austria

2 Department of Pathology, Landesklinikum Moedling/Vienna, Austria

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:341  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-341

Published: 24 September 2009



Limited data are available to evaluate the accuracy of frozen section analysis and ultrasound- guided core needle biopsy of the breast.


In a retrospective analysis data of 120 consecutive handheldultrasound- guided 14- gauge automated core needle biopsies (CNB) in 109 consecutive patients with breast lesions between 2006 and 2007 were evaluated.


In our outpatient clinic120 CNB were performed. In 59/120 (49.2%) cases we compared histological diagnosis on frozen sections with those on paraffin sections of CNB and finally with the result of open biopsy. Of the cases 42/59 (71.2%) were proved to be malignant and 17/59 (28.8%) to be benign in the definitive histology. 2/59 (3.3%) biopsies had a false negative frozen section result. No false positive results of the intraoperative frozen section analysis were obtained, resulting in a sensitivity, specificity and positive predicting value (PPV) and negative predicting value (NPV) of 95%, 100%, 100% and 90%, respectively. Histological and morphobiological parameters did not show up relevance for correct frozen section analysis. In cases of malignancy time between diagnosis and definitive treatment could not be reduced due to frozen section analysis.


The frozen section analysis of suspect breast lesions performed by CNB displays good sensitivity/specificity characteristics. Immediate investigations of CNB is an accurate diagnostic tool and an important step in reducing psychological strain by minimizing the period of uncertainty in patients with breast tumor.