Comparison of Liquid-based and Conventional Cytology in Diagnosis of Breast Mass

J Cytol. 2019 Jan-Mar;36(1):22-27. doi: 10.4103/JOC.JOC_139_17.


Background: Among all diagnostic techniques for breast lesions, fine-needle aspiration (FNA) is the simplest, most reliable and cheapest one.

Aim: To compare liquid-based and conventional cytology in diagnosis of breast mass.

Materials and methods: About 101 patients with breast mass were enrolled. The aspirated materials were divided into two parts. One was poured into a liquid medium and the other part was directly spread on clean glass slides. Conventional and liquid-based preparations were compared using several criteria including adequacy (presence of the epithelial cluster or myoepithelial cells), overall cellularity, presence of single epithelial cells, presence of myoepithelial cells, epithelial architecture, nuclear detail, nuclear atypia and inflammatory/proteinaceous background and final diagnosis.

Results: Among 101 cases, 85 (84.1%) were malignant and 16 (15.9%) were benign. Conventional and liquid-based cytology were similar according to adequacy (P = 0.65), cellularity (P = 0.13), epithelial architecture (P = 0.15), presence of myoepithelial cells (P = 0.61), nuclear detail (P = 0.57) and nuclear atypia (P = 0.44), while there were a significant difference between the two methods according to the presence of single epithelial cells (P < 0.001) and background (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Liquid-based cytology of breast specimens is an accurate diagnostic tool with high diagnostic yield in benign and malignant lesions.

Keywords: Conventional cytology; FNA; ThinPrep; liquid-based cytology.