Background: The role of nipple discharge cytology (NDc) in the surgical management of breast cancer patients is unclear. We aimed: (i) to evaluate the effect of malignant NDc on the surgical approach to the nipple-areola complex, and (ii) to verify the association between malignant NDc and nipple malignancy. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed a case series of 139 patients with NDc who underwent breast surgery. The clinical and histological findings, types of surgery with emphasis on nipple-areola complex amputation, immunohistochemical phenotypes of the carcinomas and measurements of the tumor-nipple distance were recorded. Additionally, in patients who showed HER2-positive lesions on definitive surgery, we evaluated the HER2 immunocytochemistry of the NDc smears. Results: Thirty-two malignant and 107 benign/borderline NDc diagnoses were identified. All 32 malignant-NDc cases were histologically confirmed as malignant. Thirty borderline/benign-NDc cases were histologically diagnosed as malignant (sensitivity 58%). The majority of the patients with malignant NDc were treated with nipple-areola complex amputations in both the mastectomy and conservative surgery groups (P<0.001, χ251.77). Nipple involvement was strongly associated with HER2-positive ductal carcinoma in-situ (P<0.001, χ211.98). HER2 immunocytochemistry on the NDc revealed a 100% correlation with the immunocytochemistry performed on the surgical tissues. Conclusions: Malignant NDc influenced surgical management. The association of malignant NDc with nipple involvement is highly related to ductal carcinoma in-situ with HER2 overexpression. In case of HER2 positive NDc, nipple-areola complex involvement is more likely than in HER2 negative cases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)