The use of positive core wash cytology to estimate potential risk of needle tract seeding of breast cancer: directional vacuum-assisted biopsy versus automated core needle biopsy

Breast Cancer. 2010;17(1):61-7. doi: 10.1007/s12282-009-0109-9. Epub 2009 Apr 10.


Background: A disadvantage of the image-guided core needle biopsy is that needle tract seeding may occur and affect the local recurrence and overall survival rates of patients after breast-conserving surgery, although the chance is small. The purpose of this study was to compare the potential risk of needle tract seeding of breast cancer from ultrasonographically guided needle biopsies that were performed with a directional vacuum-assisted device and an automated core needle gun.

Methods: The study compared the biopsies of 148 breast cancers performed using ultrasonographically guided core needle biopsy with the biopsies of 105 breast cancers performed using the vacuum suction probe. The potential risk of needle tract seeding of the breast cancer was defined by the cytological results derived from the needle wash material. The atypical/indeterminate, suspicious/probably malignant, and malignant categories were considered to represent positive cases.

Results: There were significantly fewer positive cytological findings derived from the needle wash material with the directional vacuum-assisted device (33%) than with the automated core needle gun (69%) (P < 0.0001).

Conclusion: The use of the directional vacuum-assisted device significantly decreases the potential risk of needle tract seeding of breast cancer after an ultrasonographically guided needle biopsy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle / adverse effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / secondary*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Seeding*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vacuum