Papillomas of the breast are benign epithelial neoplasms. Because of the low, but continued potential for malignancy, the treatment options after initial diagnosis remain controversial. The aim of this study was to analyze the
clinical course of patients with papilloma who were managed by active surveillance following initial diagnosis by core needle biopsy or vacuum-assisted biopsy. This retrospective study analyzed 174 patients with 180 papillomas that were diagnosed by core needle biopsy (113 cases) or vacuum-assisted biopsy (67 cases) at the Breast Center Seefeld Zurich between February 2002 and May 2011. We excluded 24 cases that underwent excisional biopsy for removal of the lesion. Over a mean follow-up of 3.5 years, 13 further events occurred in 156 cases (8%). These events included two cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (one after 4 and one after 6 years), one case of atypical ductal hyperplasia, one radial scar, eight cases of papilloma, and one case of flat epithelial atypia. No invasive carcinomas occurred during the follow-up period. Conservative management of 156 papillary lesions with removal by vacuum-assisted biopsy and surveillance was not associated with invasive cancer over a median follow-up of 3.5 years. Therefore, this approach seems to be a safe option for the clinical management of papillary lesions.