Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Acta Cytol. 2001 Nov-Dec;45(6):1027-31.

Fine needle aspiration cytology of mammary duct ectasia: report of a case with novel cytologic and immunocytochemical findings.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.



Mammary duct ectasia (MDE), or periductal mastitis, is a well-defined clinical entity with a characteristic histopathologic appearance on breast biopsy specimens. However, the cytologic features of MDE have been described only recently in the cytopathology literature, and fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytologic findings are based mainly on a small number of case reports in the English-language literature. Therefore, awareness of this entity and recognition of its cytomorphologic features could aid in a more accurate diagnosis. We report the novel cytologic and immunocytochemical findings on a case of MDE that was confirmed by histologic examination on a subsequent biopsy.


We report the findings of breast FNA cytology in a 50-year-old female with a mammographically and clinically suspicious lesion. Cytology displayed a paucicellular aspirate, typified by a few scattered, cohesive clusters of ductal epithelial cells with mild nuclear atypia and distinct, peripherally located myoepithelial cells. Intermingled within the ductal elements were numerous polygonal cells with abundant, finely vacuolated cytoplasm that were immunoreactive for macrophage-specific antibody, CD68. The background consisted of a variable number of foam cells and negligible amount of blood.


The current case of MDE demonstrates cytomorphologic features that may pose diagnostic problems, particularly as a consequence of variable cytologic atypia this entity may present on FNA cytology. This diagnostic difficulty is compounded because of the abnormal mammographic and suspicious clinical findings that may be associated with MDE. CD68 immunoreactivity is a useful ancillary tool to verify the histiocytic, rather than epithelial and potentially neoplastic, nature of multivacuolated cells. To the best of our knowledge, there has been no prior reported case of MDE in the English-language literature studied utilizing CD68 antibody. This case report emphasizes that MDE is a heterogeneous entity with diverse cytomorphologic features. FNA cytology in conjunction with immunocytochemistry might permit accurate classification in the proper clinical setting.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk