Nipple fluid cytology

Clin Lab Med. 2005 Dec;25(4):787-94, vii-viii. doi: 10.1016/j.cll.2005.08.010.


With increasing emphasis on public awareness of breast cancer and screening mammography, more women seek consultation for breast symptoms, including nipple discharge. The presence of nipple discharge is distressing for the patient; however, its origin is fortunately most often benign. Nipple discharge associated with a recognizable mass requires sampling and surgical excision. Currently, clinical breast examination, cytology, ductography, mammogram, and ultrasound are commonly used to evaluate patients who have nipple discharge. Ductal lavage and ductoscopy, in association with emerging new technology, may be of help in increasing the sensitivity of nipple fluid cytology. In addition, nipple fluid cytology may offer a new way to study the spectrum of premalignant breast lesions, and to identify women at risk for breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Diseases / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cytodiagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nipples / metabolism
  • Nipples / pathology*