DOI: 10.5858/arpa.2023-0007-ra ISSN:

Diagnostic Pitfalls in Breast Cancer Pathology With an Emphasis on Core Needle Biopsy Specimens

Liza M. Quintana, Laura C. Collins
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • General Medicine
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Breast pathology has many mimics and diagnostic pitfalls. Evaluation of malignant breast lesions, particularly in the biopsy setting, can be especially challenging, with diagnostic errors having significant management implications.


To discuss the pitfalls encountered when evaluating ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive breast carcinomas, providing histologic clues and guidance for appropriate use and interpretation of immunohistochemistry to aid in the correct diagnosis.

Data Sources.—

Data were obtained from review of pertinent literature of ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive breast carcinomas and from the experience of the authors as practicing breast pathologists.


Awareness of the pitfalls in diagnosing breast cancers is important when creating a differential diagnosis for each breast lesion evaluated. This review will cover some of these scenarios to aid in the diagnostic process.

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