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  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

Local experience of referral for breast assessment resulting from incidental findings on CT and PET-CT studies over a 5-year period

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Breast Cancer Research201517 (Suppl 1) :P35

  • Published:


  • Breast Malignancy
  • Wide Local Excision
  • Radiology Information System
  • Breast Abnormality
  • Breast Assessment


Incidental findings of breast abnormalities from cross-sectional imaging (CT and PET-CT) are a relatively common source of referral for breast assessment at our unit. We sought to describe and quantify our local experience of these referrals and to determine which cross-sectional imaging findings were more predictive of malignancy.


Retrospective review using radiology information system searches for mammography referrals resulting from CT and PET-CT scan findings performed over a 5-year period (July 2010−July 2015) in Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. Studies in patients with known active breast malignancy were excluded. Cross-sectional imaging characteristics of the abnormalities were collected including CT enhancement, PET avidity, size and shape. Assessment imaging features, subsequent biopsy and clinical outcomes were recorded.


A total of 126 patients were assessed as a result of incidental breast abnormalities. Thirty-six of 126 (29 %) were subsequently found to have breast malignancy (CT 28/110, 25 % and PET CT 8/16, 50 %). Size, shape and CT enhancement features will be presented. Lesions with high avidity on PET-CT scans were more likely to be primary breast cancer on biopsy (83 % SUVmax >2.5). Of 36 breast malignancies identified, three patients underwent mastectomy surgery, 10 had wide local excision and 20 had non-surgical management. Three patient outcomes are unknown at the time of writing.


Referrals arising from incidental abnormalities identified on cross-sectional imaging have a high yield for breast malignancy (29 %). Incidental PET findings, while less often a route of referral, have the highest likelihood of identifying a malignant lesion.

Authors’ Affiliations

Oxford Breast Imaging Centre, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Oxford, UK


© Sidebottom et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.