Nuclear morphometry in flat epithelial atypia of the breast as a predictor of malignancy: a digital image-based histopathologic analysis.
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OBJECTIVE: To identify morphometric features unique to flat epithelial atypia associated with cancer using digital image analysis. STUDY DESIGN: Cases with diagnosis of flat epithelial atypia were retrieved and divided into 2 groups: flat epithelial atypia associated with invasive or in situ carcinoma (n = 31) and those without malignancy (n = 27). Slides were digitally scanned. Nuclear features were analyzed on representative images at 20x magnification using digital morphometric software. RESULTS: Parameters related to nuclear shape and size (diameter, perimeter) were similar in both groups. However, cases with malignancy had significantly higher densitometric green (p = 0.02), red (p = 0.03), and grey (p = 0.02) scale levels as compared to cases without cancer. A mean grey densitometric level > 119.45 had 71% sensitivity and 70.4% specificity in detecting cases with concomitant carcinoma. CONCLUSION: Morphometry of features related to nuclear staining appears to be useful in predicting risk of concurrent malignancy in patients with flat epithelial atypia, when added to a comprehensive histopathologic evaluation.
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