Early detection of breast lesions continues to be an important goal in the management of breast cancer. At present, mammographic imaging in addition to physical examination is the main screening method for the detection of cancer. Fiberoptic ductoscopy and duct lavage are being recently used to evaluate patients at risk for breast cancer. Both techniques examine the nipple and central duct area to identify intraductal lesions. In this study, we examined the frequency of involvement of these structures in mastectomy specimens as a surrogate marker to estimate the utility of these methods in breast cancer patients. The presence and type of involvement of the nipple and central duct area was retrospectively evaluated in 801 mastectomy specimens from a 4-year period that had been performed for infiltrating or in situ carcinoma. Atypical proliferation or cells, when seen in the ducts of this region, was considered as evidence of nipple involvement, even if definite evidence of malignancy was lacking. The review of 801 mastectomies showed nipple and central duct involvement in 179 (22%) cases. Among the 665 cases of infiltrating carcinoma, 17% did not have an intraductal component. The relative rarity of nipple and central duct in mastectomy specimens and the lack of an in situ component in many cases raise questions about the utility of fiberoptic ductoscopy and duct lavage as methods for screening of breast cancer. Additionally, as these methods examine only 1-2 ducts of the 15-20 ducts that open at the nipple, they might fail to detect focal abnormalities.
- Ductal lavage
- Fiberoptic ductoscopy
- Nipple involvement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine