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Positive malignant margins in clinically diagnosed and excised be-nign breast lumps: a five year retrospective study at the Korle-Bu teaching hospital, Ghana

EM Der
JN Clegg-Lamptey
RK Gyasi
JT Anim


This study was aimed at utilizing retrospective descriptive data to evaluate the percentage of clini-cally benign breast lumps that turned out to be histologically malignant and the prevalence of posi-tive tumour margins among the malignant cases. A total of 2,917 registered cases of excised breast lump at the Department of Pathology spanning January 2005 to December 2009 were reviewed to evaluate the presence of malignancy and positive margins. Three hundred and twenty-two (11.0%) of the excised breast lumps were found to contain malignant tumours, out of which 142(44.1%) had positive tumour margins. Size of primary tumour (p=0.001) and histologic subtype (p=0.002) showed significant positive and negative associations in relation to positive tumour margins re-spectively. No significant association was observed between the positive tumour margins and his-tologic grade (p=0.363).The study showed that clinically benign breast lumps could be malignant and not completely excised, therefore increasing the risk of local recurrence. Thus, it is recom-mended that all women with breast lumps have the triad (diagnostic workup) of clinical and radio-logical assessment, followed with histological studies.

Keywords: Breast cancer, Excision biopsy, recurrence, positive margins