Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Diagn Cytopathol. 2002 Nov;27(5):261-4; discussion 265.

Characterization of foam cells in nipple aspirate fluid.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathology, The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Foam cells with abundant vacuolated cytoplasm are prominent in most samples of spontaneous nipple discharge, nipple aspirate fluid, and ductal lavage. Although several investigators have attempted to characterize these cells, there is no consensus about whether these cells are derived entirely from macrophages or from both ductal epithelial cells and macrophages. Using immunocytochemical methods, we studied 20 paired specimens of nipple aspirate fluid containing abundant foam cells obtained from the involved breast of women with in situ or invasive carcinoma and from the contralateral normal breast. We used a cocktail of anticytokeratin antibodies including AE1, AE3, and CAM5.2 and the macrophage marker KP1 (CD68). In addition, we examined samples by electron microscopy. The foam cells were consistently negative for cytokeratin and positive for CD68. In every case electron microscopy of these cells revealed irregular outlines with short cytoplasmic processes. The cytoplasm was abundant and contained numerous lysosomes, a small Golgi complex, lipid droplets, mitochondria, and short profiles of rough endoplasmic reticulum. There was no evidence, however, of cell junctions or tonofilaments. The immunocytochemical and electron microscopic findings of our study together clearly support a macrophage derivation for foam cells in nipple aspirate fluid.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center