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Clin Lab Med. 2005 Dec;25(4):827-43, viii-ix.

Cytomorphology as a risk predictor: experience with fine needle aspiration biopsy, nipple fluid aspiration, and ductal lavage.

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University of Florida Health Science Center, Department of Pathology, Clinical Center, Jacksonville, FL 32209, USA.


Primary prevention of breast cancer requires identification and elimination of cancer-causing agents, which is an incredibly difficult task to follow. Secondary prevention involves screening individuals who are at increased risk for breast cancer in hopes that early intervention will affect survival. In the 1980s, chemoprevention received serious attention. This approach was aimed at reducing cancer risk by administration of natural or synthetic clinical compounds that prevent, reverse, or suppress carcinogenesis in individuals at increased risk for cancer. It was not until 1998, however, when the first report from the National Surgical Adjunct Breast and Bowel Project (Breast Cancer Prevention Trial BCPT; P-1) randomized clinical trial appeared in the literature supporting the hypothesis that breast can-cer can be prevented. This study showed that administration of tamoxifen reduced the risk for invasive and noninvasive breast cancer by almost 50% in all age groups. With the current availability of tamoxifen as a chemopreventive agent and with the increasing emphasis on early breast cancer detection and prevention, more women seek consultation to determine their risk for breast cancer. However, in the absence of any detectable breast lesion, clinically and mammographically, only a few women may volunteer to have their breasts sampled by surgical biopsy for risk assessment. Other non-surgical procedures include fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB), nipple aspirate fluid (NAF), and the recently introduced procedure, ductal lavage. These techniques may provide better alternatives. These minimally invasive procedures are capable of recruiting cellular material for cytomorphologic interpretation and biomarker studies.

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