Dr. Kristin Elias, of New York University, and colleagues evaluated the rate of malignancy in this BI-RADS category in lesions found with screening ultrasound in women of average or high risk for breast cancer. No subsequent cancers were identified in lesions assigned to the "probably benign" category, they found.
The study included 116 screening ultrasounds taken over a two-year period; 108 of these had a mean follow-up of 16 months, and 190 probably benign lesions were identified from these 108 cases. More than half of the women included in the study (53%) had no known risk factors for breast cancer; 50% were premenopausal and 78% had dense breast tissue.
Of the 108 cases with follow-up, no BI-RADS 3 lesions were found to be malignant, according to Elias' team. With careful assessment, some lesions found on screening ultrasound may be characterized as benign rather than probably benign, decreasing unnecessary follow-up exams without missing cancer, the group concluded.