ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: For patients who present to clinicians with palpable breast lesions, the triple test: (physical examination, mammography and fine-needle aspiration cytology) can be employed to provide accurate diagnosis. In this study, the sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of triple test components were studied separately and in combination. MATERIAL AND METHODS: During the study period (from January 1998 to December 1999), 140 patients with palpable breast masses were subjected to all components of the triple test followed by confirmatory open biopsy. RESULTS: Physical examination showed 82.6% sensitivity, 97.3% specificity and 86.4% positive predictive value. Mammography showed 87.5% sensitivity, 97.3% specificity and 87.5% positive predictive value and fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) showed 91.7% sensitivity, 100% specificity and 100% positive predictive value in concordant cases (elements had either all malignant or all benign results). CONCLUSION: The triple test was 100% accurate in the diagnosis of palpable breast lesions when all three elements were concordant. Based on these results, we recommend elimination of the confirmatory open biopsy, which will result in reduced expenses and morbidity compared with open biopsy.
Annals of Saudi Medicine. 01/2003;