BACKGROUND. The reliability of cytologic criteria to classify nonproliferat
ive breast lesions (NPBL) is still debated. Sampling error and heterogeneit
y of breast lesions complicates the histologic correlation of fine-needle a
spiration results further.
METHODS. To provide optimal cytohistologic correlation, two smears (one tha
t was stained with hematoxylin and eosin and one that was stained with Diff
-Quik [American Scientific Products, McGraw Park, IL]) were prepared from s
pecific tissue sections from breast biopsies without mass lesions. The 42 c
ases classified as NPBL histologically were included in the current study.
The cytologic features of the smears were evaluated.
RESULTS. Cellularity ranged from low (40% of cases) to moderate (50% of cas
es) to high (7% of cases). The cells were arranged in small clusters in 79%
of cases, were mixed with large sheets in 17% of cases, and were in large
sheets in 2% of cases. Intact lobules were noted in 31%. The configuration
of the epithelial groups was complex in 62% of cases. Myoepithelial cells i
n the background and within the epithelial groups were noted in all the spe
cimens. The percentage of single epithelial cells was < 10 in 38% of cases,
10-20 in 41%, and 20-30 in 19%. Mild nuclear enlargement and overlap, micr
onucleoli, and mild chromatin clumping were noted in a significant number o
CONCLUSIONS. NPBL have been found to have a wide spectrum of cytologic appe
arances. At one end of the spectrum, smears are cellular with up to 30% sin
gle cells and large sheets in a complex configuration and exhibit nuclear e
nlargement and overlap and prominent nucleoli, features that overlap with t
hose described in proliferative breast lesions. Cancer (Cancer Cytopathol)
2001;93:140-145. (C) 2001 American Cancer Society.