Failure of high risk women to produce nipple aspirate fluid does not exclude detection of cytologic atypia in random periareolar fine needle aspiration specimens

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2004 Sep;87(1):59-64. doi: 10.1023/B:BREA.0000041582.11586.d3.


Introduction: Evidence of hyperplasia with atypia found both on random periareolar fine needle aspiration (RPFNA) and in nipple aspirate fluid (NAF) fluid are associated with an increased risk for breast cancer.

Aim: In this study, we report the correlation of NAF production with cytological assessment of ductal cells obtained by RPFNA.

Methods: 113 women at high risk for development of breast cancer attending the Breast Cancer Prevention Clinic at the University of Kansas Medical Center underwent a single NAF collection attempt and RPFNA.

Results: NAF was successfully collected in 51% of women. There was no significant difference in age, 5-year Gail risk assessment, menopausal status, hormone use, family history of breast cancer, history of prior atypical hyperplasia/LCIS or history of contralateral DCIS/invasive breast cancer between women who produced NAF and those that did not. The only significant difference between the two groups was in history of prior lactation (p = 0.018). Twenty-seven of the 113 subjects were found to have hyperplasia with atypia by RPFNA was 31% in women who produced NAF versus 16% in those who did not (p = 0.07).

Conclusion: Although prevalence of RPFNA atypia was numerically higher in NAF producers than non-producers the difference did not reach statistical significance. Failure to produce NAF does not exclude the presence of hyperplasia with atypia by random periareolar fine needle aspiration.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Needle / methods*
  • Breast / cytology
  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation
  • Middle Aged
  • Nipples / pathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Specimen Handling