Fine-needle aspiration in suspected inflammatory breast cancer: Case series with emphasis on approach to specimen adequacy

Neeta Kumar, Shahin Sayed, Zahir Moloo, Ronald Wasike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To highlight the utility of a tangential approach in the fine-needle aspiration (FNA) technique for obtaining cellular material adequate for a conclusive diagnosis in diffusely enlarged breast without a discrete lump. Study Design: FNA was performed on 5 women clinically suspected to have inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). All had unilateral diffusely enlarged breasts with peau d'orange changes of the skin. No distinct lump was palpable. The procedure was performed using a 10 cm3 syringe with a tangential approach of a 23-gauge needle in all 4 quadrants with extra passes in the antigravity areas. Rapid on-site evaluation for adequacy was done. Results: All women were of African descent within the age range of 34-57 years. One case had a recent history of lactation. FNA smears showed low-to-moderate cellularity. One case was suspicious and 4 were positive for ductal carcinoma. Core biopsy confirmed IBC in 3 cases. Two cases had a mastectomy; 1 of these cases had preoperative neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Conclusion: The approach of FNA used in these cases helped to establish the diagnosis of IBC in 4 women presenting with a diffusely enlarged and tender breast, resulting in the timely initiation of appropriate management. The technique needs to be assessed in a larger cohort of women with diffusely enlarged breast to evaluate its diagnostic utility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-244
Number of pages6
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • Breast
  • Cytology
  • Diffuse enlargement
  • East Africa
  • Fine-needle aspiration
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Mastitis
  • Pitfalls


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