Fine-needle aspiration of inflammatory carcinoma of the breast.
Inflammatory carcinoma of the breast is an uncommon clinicopathologic entity which is characterized by a distinctive clinical appearance and poor prognosis. Histopathologically, it is characterized by plugging of dermal lymphatics with tumor emboli. Because this lesion usually does not form a discrete palpable mass, it is not as amenable to diagnosis by fine-needle aspiration (FNA) as other breast lesions. In the following, we report our experience with establishing the diagnosis of inflammatory carcinoma by FNA. Three patients underwent FNA for confirmation of clinically suspected inflammatory carcinoma. All aspirations were performed by a cytopathologist and required multiple passes to obtain diagnostic material. Aspirates were paucicellular and contained fragments of fibrous or adipose tissue. Malignant cells were predominantly distributed in tight, three-dimensional clusters and were identifiable as tumor cells based on large size, nuclear irregularity, and increased nuclear to cytoplasmic ratio. Unlike aspirates from conventional breast carcinoma, individual dispersed cells and cellular discohesiveness were not prominent features. Subsequent histologic material from these patients revealed the characteristic tumor emboli plugging dermal lymphatics. We conclude that in the appropriate setting, the diagnosis of inflammatory carcinoma can be established by FNA.
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