The diagnostic accuracy of mammography in the evaluation of male breast disease

Gregory F F Evans, Thomas Anthony, Alan H. Appelbaum, Terence D. Schumpert, Karen R. Levy, Robin H. Amirkhan, Tamara J. Cambell, Jorge Lopez, Richard H. Turnage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Background: The role of mammography in the evaluation of male patients presenting with breast disease is controversial. This controversy is a function of the lack of specific data concerning the diagnostic accuracy of mammography when used in this clinical setting. The purpose of this study was to define the diagnostic accuracy of mammography in the evaluation of male breast disease. Methods: One hundred and four prebiopsy mammograms from 100 patients with tissue diagnoses were read blindly by two independent radiologists, and placed into one of five predetermined categories: definitely malignant, possibly malignant, gynecomastia, benign mass, and normal. Radiologic/pathologic correlation was performed and the sensitivity (Sn), specificity (Sp), positive (Ppv) and negative predictive value (Npv), and accuracy (Ac) for each of the mammographic diagnostic category determined. Results: The pathologic diagnoses were 12 cancers, including 1 patient with bilateral breast cancer, 70 cases of gynecomastia, 16 benign masses, and 6 normals. The accuracy data for the mammographic diagnostic categories are as follows: malignant (combined definitely and possibly malignant), Sn 92%, Sp 90%, Ppv 55%, Npv 99%, Ac 90%; and overall benignity (combined gynecomastia, benign mass, and normal), Sn 90%, Sp 92%, Ppv 99%, Npv 55%, Ac 90%. Six cancers (50%) coexisted with gynecomastia. Conclusions: Mammography can accurately distinguish between malignant and benign male breast disease. Although not a replacement for clinical examination, its routine use could substantially reduce the need for biopsy in patients whose mammograms and clinical examination suggest benign disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-100
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Diagnosis
  • Male breast cancer
  • Mammography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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