Combined breast ductal lavage and ductal endoscopy for the evaluation of the high-risk breast: a feasibility study

J Surg Oncol. 2006 Dec 1;94(7):555-64. doi: 10.1002/jso.20650.


Background and objectives: Evaluation of the ductal epithelium of the breast at increased risk for breast cancer is needed to define the carcinogenic pathway, for risk assessment, and to improve selection of women for chemoprevention therapy. We studied the feasibility of combining breast ductal endoscopy with ductal lavage in the high-risk contralateral breast of women with ipsilateral breast cancer for the evaluation of high-risk ducts and acquisition of ductal epithelial cells for analysis.

Methods: Breast ducts were studied by ductal lavage and ductal endoscopy, and epithelial cell content studied cytologically and quantitatively.

Results: Twenty-five subjects and 44 ducts, including 22 (50.0%) which did not produce nipple aspirate fluid (NAF), were studied. Cellular atypia was present in five subjects. Ductal endoscopy was performed on 1 or more ducts in 24 subjects. Structural changes were noted in 63.6% of the ducts, most commonly fibrous stranding or bridging. Ductal sampling with endoscopic brush and coil sampling devices provided additional cellular samples of relatively pure ductal epithelial content (> or = 91% purity) in 8/11 subjects.

Conclusions: Breast ductal endoscopy combined with ductal lavage represents a feasible approach for characterizing the ducts and ductal epithelium of the high-risk breast, especially in a research setting.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Fluids / cytology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / pathology
  • Cell Count
  • Cytodiagnosis
  • Endoscopy* / methods
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammary Glands, Human / cytology
  • Mammary Glands, Human / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Risk Assessment
  • Therapeutic Irrigation