IMR Press / EJGO / Volume 26 / Issue 2 / pii/2005130

European Journal of Gynaecological Oncology (EJGO) is published by IMR Press from Volume 40 Issue 1 (2019). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with S.O.G.

Distinguished Expert Series

FNAC: Its role, limitations and perspective in the preoperative diagnosis of breast cancer

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1 Department of 1Pathology, Medical School, University of loannina, Casa di Cura Poliambulanza, Brescia (Italy)
2 Department of Pathology, Casa di Cura Poliambulanza, Brescia (Italy)
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Greece
Eur. J. Gynaecol. Oncol. 2005, 26(2), 143–149;
Published: 10 April 2005

Fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) was first described and performed in 1930. Thirty years later, it gained acceptance first in Europe and about a decade later in North America. The method is generally considered as a rapid, reliable, safe diagnostic tool to distinguish non-neoplastic from neoplastic breast lesions. In developed countries, in the last 20 years, mammographic screening programmes, which have been used extensively, are designed to detect the earliest possible breast cancer. The FNAC report is extremely important because it gives the necessary information for the management of patients, in order to proceed with more inva­sive diagnostic methods or surgical treatment, and to decide what kind of operation to perform. In the preoperative phase, FNAC has taken a fundamental role of both palpable and nonpalpable lesions, using ultrasound or stereotactic guidance. New developed techniques, breast biopsy instrumentation (ABBI) and mammotome have the advantage of complete removal of breast lesions, but this is not possible in all the examined cases. In developing countries, economical restrictions, low budget for health care and screen­ing programmes put the patients at a disadvantage because of the high cost of sophisticated diagnostic methods, thus we recom­mend that FNAC be used as a routine diagnostic method because of its low cost compared with the others and this policy maxi­mizes the availability of health care to women with breast cancer. We conclude that FNAC plays an important and essential role in the management of patients with breast lesions and also offers a great potential for prediction of patient outcome, disease response to therapy and assessment of risk of developing breast cancer. The reliability and efficiency of the method depends on the quality of the samples and the experience of the medical staff that per­forms the aspiration.

Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC)
Breast cancer
Preoperative diagnosis
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