Aspiration biopsy smear pattern as a predictor of biologic behavior in adenocarcinoma of the breast

L. J. Layfield, M. E. Robert, H. Cramer, A. Giuliano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is increasingly used for the initial diagnosis of breast carcinoma, yet few studies have investigated the prognostic importance of cytologic features seen in breast FNAC. We studied the relationship between prognosis and smear morphology in 26 patients with breast carcinoma for whom information from long-term follow-up was available. Specifically, we attempted to correlate nuclear grade and smear pattern with hormonal receptor status, lymph node status, breast recurrence and distant metastasis. In an additional five patients (on whom insufficient follow-up information was available), smear pattern and nuclear grade were correlated with hormonal status. Smears were classified into three patterns: typical (sheets and clusters), individual cell predominant and cluster predominant. The individual cell predominant pattern was associated with an increased incidence of distant metastasis when compared with the other two smear patterns (P < .05). No statistically significant association was observed between smear pattern and the other factors studied. Nuclear grade 2 (of 3) was also associated with an increased incidence of distant metastasis. However, most grade 2 tumors (10/12) were of the individual cell predominant pattern. Smear pattern classification, along with DNA ploidy analysis and hormone receptor analysis of FNAC-derived material, may yield valuable prognostic information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-214
Number of pages7
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology

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