Mucinous (colloid) carcinoma

Mucinous (colloid) carcinoma Mucinous (colloid) carcinoma accounts for approximately 5% of breast carcinomas and typically occurs in older women. It is associated with a better prognosis than the invasive ductal carcinoma NOS. Mucinous carcinomas can be divided into pure, mixed and signet ring cell carcinoma, with the latter having the worst prognosis. Mammography usually shows […]

Fibrocystic change

Fibrocystic change Fibrocystic change is the most common lesion to produce a breast mass in women aged over 30. Up to 50% of women have palpable ‘lumpiness’ and up to 90% show histological changes. The lesions of fibrocystic change, usually multiple and bilateral, are the most common palpable lesions sampled by FNA. Histologic features include […]


Fibroadenoma Fibroadenoma is the most common breast neoplasm, occurring in all age groups, but especially common in young women from 20 to 35 years of age. In contrast with the ill-defined nature of fibrocystic change, fibroadenomata are movable, discrete nodules, measuring usually less than 4 cm in maximum dimension. They often increase in size with […]

C3: Atypia probably benign

Aspirates in this category can have all the characteristics of a benign aspirate. In addition, a combination of features not usually seen in benign aspirates may be present. These can be: Nuclear pleomorphism. Some loss of cellular cohesiveness. Nuclear hyperchromasia and changes resulting from, for example, hormonal (pregnancy, pill, hormone replacement therapy) or treatment influences. […]


Papilloma Solitary intraductal papillomata occur most often in women from 50 to 60 years of age. Patients often do not have a palpable mass, but rather present with a serous or bloody nipple discharge. Aspiration of a papilloma shows tight clusters and three-dimensional groups of epithelial cells, possibly in a papillary arrangement, which is more […]

C4: Suspicious of malignancy

C4 (Suspicious of malignancy) This category encompasses the aspirates with highly atypical features, almost certainly coming from a malignant lesion although a confident diagnosis cannot be made. The specimen is scanty, poorly preserved or poorly prepared, but some cells with features of malignancy are present. The sample may show some malignant features in the absence […]

Pregnancy and lactational changes

Pregnancy and lactational changes Most breast lesions in pregnant and postpartum women are benign and result from hormonal stimulation of breast tissue. Pregnancy can produce lactating adenomata or cause enlargement of pre-existing breast lesions such as fibroadenomata. Lactating adenoma and lactational change – cytological diagnostic features Cellular smears Bubbly vacuolated secretion in the background Numerous […]

C5: Malignant

This category indicates an adequate sample showing cells characteristic of carcinoma, or other malignancy. Malignancy should never be diagnosed on the basis of a single criterion. Combinations of the features listed in the following table will be always necessary to achieve the diagnosis. Criterion Benign Malignant General characteristics Cellularity Usually poor or moderate Usually high […]


Gynaecomastia Gynaecomastia is a hormonally dependent lesion appearing most often in adolescents and older male patients. It can be classified as juvenile, idiopathic or drug-related. Cytological diagnostic features Low to moderate cellularity Groups of ductal cells Occasional apocrine cells Occasional mild nuclear atypia and nucleoli Stromal bipolar naked nuclei

Medullary carcinoma

Medullary carcinoma Medullary carcinoma is a rare type of breast carcinoma, usually occurring in the fifth and sixth decade of life. It characteristically presents as a well-demarcated lesion. Medullary carcinoma has been thought to have a better prognosis than ductal carcinoma NOS, although some studies have suggested that this is not true. Cytological diagnostic features […]