Objective: To evaluate invasion criteria in fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of histologically diagnosed breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive carcinoma and to evaluate their usefulness in identifying an invasive component in addition to DCIS.
Study design: The material consisted of 331 smears diagnosed as suspicious for or consistent with DCIS and in which histology had shown either DCIS or invasive ductal carcinoma. All smears were reevaluated for the following invasion criteria: invasion of fat or fibrous tissue fragments, fibroblast proliferation, cell-poor elastoid tissue fragments, tubular structures and intracytoplasmic vacuoles.
Results: All invasion criteria except cytoplasmic vacuoles correlated with invasiveness, but none of them were found exclusively in invasive lesions. Pseudoinvasion in fibrous or fatty tissue fragments were found in 8 cases of histologic pure DCIS. One DCIS (0.4%) revealed > or = 2 invasion features as well as 22 invasive carcinomas (20.7%), representing 7.4% of all cases.
Conclusion: Using established invasion criteria, practically no pure DCIS lesion will be diagnosed as invasive on FNAC, but one will identify only a subset of cases harboring an invasive component.