Fine needle aspiration cytology of the breast: Experience at an outpatient breast clinic

Aeree Kim, Jaebok Lee, Jong Sang Choi, Nam Hee Won, Bum Hwan Koo

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24 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the accuracy of fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of the breast at our institution and to perform quality assurance. STUDY DESIGN: Two hundred forty-six cases with pathologic confirmation were selected and reviewed. A pathologist performed most of the aspirations at an outpatient breast clinic. We correlated cytologic and histologic findings and evaluated the influence of the size, location, grade, and pathologic subtypes and fibrosis in breast lesions on diagnostic results. RESULTS: The likelihood ratios for malignant, suspicious, atypical, benign and unsatisfactory cytologic diagnoses were 98.71, 5.48, 1.09, 0.07 and 0.55, respectively. The absolute and complete sensitivities for malignant lesions were 64.5% and 90.3%, respectively. The specificity was 71.9%. False negative and positive rates were 4.3% and 0.7%, respectively. The predictive value for a malignant cytologic diagnosis was 98.4%. The rate of unsatisfactory samples was 9.3%. The rate of concordance between cytologic and histologic diagnosis was lower for large and diffusely growing lesions (benign and malignant), for malignancies with abundant fibrosis and of unusual types and for carcinomas of low grade. All axillary and recurrent chest wall lesions were diagnosed cytologically. Cell block sections were useful in a small number of cases. CONCLUSION: Understanding the performance and limitations of FNAC can enhance its value as a diagnostic technique in the management of breast disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-367
Number of pages7
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Aspiration biopsy
  • Breast diseases
  • Breast neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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