- Open Access
Fine-Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC) is a reliable diagnostic tool for small breast lesions (≤ 1.0 cm): a 20-year retrospective study
Surgical and Experimental Pathology volume 3, Article number: 29 (2020)
Breast cancer is a major public health problem worldwide. It is recommended that small breast lesions or those suspicious for malignancy be evaluated via histopathological examination (“core biopsy” or surgical specimens), and lesions that are probably benign and palpable should be examined via fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC). This study aimed to assess the accuracy of FNAC for the diagnosis of small breast lesions.
We reviewed all anatomopathological reports of FNACs collected between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2019 (n = 24,721) in a private community pathology service. Lesions up to 1.0 cm (≤1.0 cm) (n = 8334) were included for evaluation and classified according to the recommendation of the International Academy of Cytology Yokohama System for Reporting Breast Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy Cytopathology in the following categories: (1) insufficient/inadequate; (2) benign; (3) atypical, probably benign; (4) suspicious of malignancy; and (5) malignant. Subsequently, the results of the FNACs were compared to those of the respective histopathological examinations (n = 785).
FNAC had a specificity of 99.6%; sensitivity, 97.4%; positive predictive value, 99.6%; negative predictive value, 97.6%; and accuracy, 98.5%.
FNAC is a reliable method for diagnosing small breast lesions (≤1.0 cm).
Breast cancer is the most common malignant neoplasm among women worldwide after non-melanoma skin malignancies (Globocan Observatory W 2019a; Bray et al. 2018). Further, it is the most frequent cause of cancer-related death among women worldwide, with an estimated 2.1 million new cases annually. The survival rate varies by continent, with better rates in developed countries (Globocan Observatory W 2019a; Bray et al. 2018). The implementation of breast cancer screening programs is helpful for early detection of breast lesions that in turn translate to a significant decrease in mortality (Instituto Nacional do Câncer 2018; Urban et al. 2017; Myers et al. 2015; Manfrin et al. 2009). Lesions suspected of malignancy should be subjected to complementary tests as soon as possible for diagnostic confirmation (Instituto Nacional do Câncer 2018; Perry et al. 2008). The most common modalities for initial evaluation of breast lesions are fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and core-needle biopsy (Perry et al. 2008; Kocjan et al. 2008). Compared with core-needle biopsy, FNAC is associated with high rates of insufficiency or inadequate specimens and low accuracy, and thus most clinicians prefer biopsy (Manfrin et al. 2009). In addition, some studies recommend that small breast lesions or those suspicious for malignancy should be evaluated through histopathological examination (“core-needle biopsy” or excision), and FNAC should be indicated for lesions that are probably benign or palpable (Manfrin et al. 2009; Nakano et al. 2015).
However, FNAC is a more simple, low-cost technique with a low risk of complications than that observed with biopsy or excision procedures (Ali and Parwani 2007; DeMay 2012). Core-needle biopsy involves the use of a thick needle to obtain fragments of the lesion, is performed in a specialized service, uses local anesthesia, and requires several fragments for an accurate analysis (Rocha et al. 2013). FNAC when performed in adequate conditions has good accuracy (Ali and Parwani 2007; DeMay 2012). The aspirated specimen can also be processed as a cellblock (Bueno Angela et al. 2013; Journal 2012; Krogerus and Kholová 2018) that can then be used for immunohistochemical analysis of related biomarkers (e.g., estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and Her-2). The cellblock specimen can also be used for molecular analysis, providing additional information that can be helpful in the diagnosis and treatment by identifying predictive and prognostic markers (Bueno Angela et al. 2013; Dong et al. 2016; Beca and Schmitt 2019).
Early diagnosis and small lesion size significantly improve the treatment outcomes and prognosis of patients with breast lesions, especially those with malignant lesions (Instituto Nacional do Câncer 2018).
This retrospective study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of FNAC as a diagnostic modality for small breast lesions (≤1.0 cm). It was conducted at the Bauru Institute of Pathology (ANATOMED), Bauru-São Paulo, Brazil between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2019. Several radiologists and five pathologists performed all the examinations. Lesions were identified and measured in three dimensions on ultrasound examination. Then, the pathologist performed the FNAC under ultrasound guidance. All lesions ≤1.0 cm were sampled under ultrasound guidance. FNAC was performed as commonly described in the literature. Briefly, a 25 × 0.6 mm 25-Gauge needle, a common cyto aspirator, and a 10 ml syringe were used (Bueno Angela et al. 2013). The specimen obtained was placed on slides for smears (between 2 and 4 smears stained with hematoxylin-eosin (HE) and May-Gründwald-Giemsa [MGG]), as recommended in the literature, in order to obtain more cytology information (Bueno Angela et al. 2013). The slides for HE staining were fixed in 95% alcohol, whereas those for MGG staining were air-dried. The excess specimen at the needle rinse was processed for cellblock. The cellblock technique involved aspiration of a small amount of 95% alcohol (0.5–1.0 ml) to aid the aggregation of the specimen by coagulation, followed by immediate aspiration of a 10% formaldehyde buffered solution (5–10 ml) for fixation, and usual histological processing in paraffin sections (Bueno Angela et al. 2013). The same pathologist who performed the FNAC examined the slides and made the diagnosis. In doubtful cases, the diagnosis was made in consensus with the opinion of one or more pathologists from the same department.
Data were collected from anatomopathological reports. Lesions measuring ≤1.0 cm on ultrasound at the time of FNAC were included (Fig. 1). Lesions measuring > 1.0 cm or those whose size was not specified were excluded. All reports included in the study were reviewed by two pathologists (JATC and CTS). The results were classified by consensus according to the proposal of the International Academy of Cytology Yokohama System for Reporting Breast Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy Cytopathology, into five categories: (1) insufficient/inadequate; (2) benign; (3) atypical, probably benign; (4) suspicious of malignancy; and (5) malignant (Field et al. 2019). Subsequently, we searched the related reports on the histopathological diagnosis corresponding to the sampled lesion and the subsequent cytohistological correlation (Fig. 1). The histopathological diagnosis was considered the “gold standard”.
Data were processed using Microsoft Office Excel® software to calculate the accuracy, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), sensitivity, and specificity (Wong and Lim 2011), mean age, patient age groups, and mean size of lesions.
Of the 24,471 breast lesions that were subjected to FNAC, 8334 lesions measuring ≤1.0 cm were included in the analysis (Fig. 1). The FNAC of these small lesions were performed for 7920 women (1.1 lesion/patient). The average sizes of the benign and malignant lesions were 7.2 mm (range, 2–10 mm) and 7.3 mm (range, 2–10 mm), respectively. The average patient age was 49.3 years. The age distribution was as follows: ≤30 years, n = 649 (8%); 31–40 years, n = 1402 (18%); 41–50 years, n = 2352 (30%); 51–80 years, n = 3414 (43%); and ≥ 81 years, n = 103 (1%). Of the 8334 lesions, 12 were classified as insufficient (group 1); 7384, benign (group 2); 402, atypical, (group 3); 140, suspicious of malignancy (group 4); and 396, malignant (group 5) (Fig. 1). Of the 8334 sampled lesions, 785 (9.4%) had a corresponding histopathological examination (core-needle biopsy or surgical procedures such as lesion excision or quadrantectomy/mastectomy) (Fig. 1).
None of the lesions in group 1 had a corresponding histopathological diagnosis. Three lesions were subjected to a second FNAC analysis and were classified as benign (two fatty necrosis and one benign lesion without cytological atypia). In group 2, 250 lesions had a corresponding histopathological examination, with 244 confirmed as benign and 6 as malignant, resulting in a negative predictive value (NPV) of 97.6%. In group 3, 214 lesions had a histopathological exam that confirmed 170 as benign (79.4%) and 44 as malignant (20.6%). In group 4, 27 (28.4%) were confirmed as benign and 68 (71.6%) as malignant. In group 5, 225 lesions were confirmed as malignant and only one was confirmed as benign (as fatty necrosis), resulting in a positive predictive value (PPV) of 99.6%. The sensitivity was 97.4%; specificity, 99.6%; and accuracy, 98.5% (Fig. 1 and Table 1).
Table 1 lists the main diagnoses obtained in each group using the FNA and surgical specimen. The risk of malignancy for each group was: 0 (group 1), 2.4% (group 2), 20.6% (group 3), 71.6% (group 4), and 99.6% (group 5). The lesions considered malignant in groups 2, 3, and 4 accounted for a substantial percentage of neoplasms in situ. The main benign lesions or those with low potential for malignancy that were diagnosed in each group are listed in Table 1.
FNAC and core-needle biopsy are the two most common modalities for the initial evaluation of breast lesions, but the accuracy of FNAC has been controversial. This study found that FNAC is a reliable diagnostic method for small breast lesions (≤1.0 cm), with a specificity of 99.6%; sensitivity, 97.4%; PPV, 99.6%; NPV, 97.6%; and accuracy, 98.5%.
The mean age of the patients in this study was 49,3 (group 3), for both benign and malignant lesions, similarly to the incidence rate peaks reported of 40 to 60-year-olds. (Bray et al. 2018; Journal 2012; Instituto Nacional do Câncer 2019; Globocan 2018; Globocan Observatory W 2019b). Similarly, most patients in this study, regardless of whether they had benign or malignant lesions, were aged between 41 and 50 years (mean age: 49.3 years). Most breast lesions detected by palpation or imaging examinations are benign or have a low potential for malignancy and have a higher incidence between the fourth and fifth decades of life (Orr and Kelley 2016). Benign lesions are usually followed up by clinical or radiological examination and, in most cases, there is no indication for a surgical approach, except in certain conditions (e.g., frequent recurrence of cystic lesions or a major change in its shape and size) (Field et al. 2019; Orr and Kelley 2016). In the present study, the majority of the lesions were benign on FNAC, and most of the patients with such lesions were only followed up clinically. Only 250 of the 7384 patients with benign lesions underwent surgery or biopsy (Fig. 1 and Table 1).
The combination of correlated imaging examinations and cytopathological characteristics improves the FNAC. This combination of clinical assessment-imaging-cytology improves the PPV of FNAC to almost 100% compared to the results obtained using biopsy or surgical specimens (Dong et al. 2016; Field et al. 2019; Irwig et al. 2002; Field et al. 2017; Tse and Tan 2010; Anderson 2016). Some authors suggest FNAC as the first-line modality for assessing breast lesions, except in cases with only microcalcifications. Ultrasound-guided FNAC is recommended in cases of non-palpable lesions (Kocjan 2006). When the combination of three assessments is used, treatment can be based solely on the result of FNAC, without the need for a complementary histopathological study (Kocjan et al. 2008). The high PPV, NPV, sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of FNAC in the current study indicates that it can also be used as a reliable first-line diagnostic modality for small breast lesions (≤1.0 cm) (Fig. 1 and Table 1).
The diagnostic accuracy of FNAC for breast lesions has varied among previous studies. A literature review by Mitra et al. showed that the sensitivity of FNAC for diagnosing breast cancer ranged from 77 to 97%, and they considered the experience of the cytopathologist, the presence of the cytopathologist at the moment of the FNAC, and a larger lesion size as influencing factors of accuracy (Mitra and Dey 2015).
In general, the accuracy varies between 86.1 and 95.7% (Dong et al. 2016; Yamaguchi et al. 2012). In contrast, other authors reported favorable accuracy of FNAC, suggesting that FNAC should be preferred over core-needle biopsy for small lesions considering that biopsy procedures can completely remove the lesion, leading to difficulties in assessing surgical margins (Tse and Tan 2010). Yamaguchi et al. also reported that if FNAC findings are used in conjunction with clinical and radiological data, the diagnostic accuracy can reach almost 100% (Yamaguchi et al. 2012). Another strategy for improving the accuracy of FNAC is implementation of the appropriate technique; this allows for obtaining specimens representative of the lesion and the use of different staining to obtain more cytological information, as one gives some nuclear or cytoplasmic details that can improve the analyses.
Proper slide preparation, adequate technical quality control, analysis by an experienced cytopathologist, discussion of doubtful cases with other cytopathologists, and correlating with radiologic findings will help improve the reliability of FNAC (Perry et al. 2008; Mitra and Dey 2016; Yamaguchi et al. 2012; Smith et al. 2012). The values obtained in the present study (accuracy, 98.5%; NPV, 97.6%; PPV, 99.6%; sensitivity, 97.4%; specificity, 99.6%) show that FNAC is reliable for evaluating small breast lesions regardless of their status (benign or malignant), and the results were highly consistent with those obtained via histopathological examination (Fig. 1). It is important to note that FNAC in the present study was performed under the following conditions: (1) all lesions ≤1.0 cm were sampled under ultrasound guidance; (2) the lesions were identified by radiologists, and the puncture performed by a pathologist; (3) at least two different smears were performed (MGG and HE); (4) the specimen obtained was sufficient for smearing and cellblock analysis, adding important information for the analysis; (5) the pathologist who performed the FNAC was the main personnel responsible for evaluating the smears and the cellblock specimen, and (6) the doubtful cases were evaluated by one or more cytopathologists, allowing for a consensus diagnosis. With these conditions, adequate specimens for examination and for accurate analyses (Fig. 2) were obtained. In our experience, the use of complementary stains (MGG and HE) and cellblocks provides additional important information that improves the accuracy of the diagnosis by FNA. Usually, the cellblocks have enough material to perform immunohistochemistry for different prognostic and predictive markers, as well as for molecular techniques. In these cases, the FNAC can provide all the information necessary for proper management or treatment, without the need for any surgical procedure to obtain additional material. There is an increasing emphasis on the accurate classification of malignancy using smaller specimens. Currently, tumor-specific subtyping with prognostic and predictive biomarker testing has become a significant component of cytopathology (VanderLaan 2016). In this context, the material obtained by FNA to conduct these studies using ancillary or molecular techniques showed results equivalent to those obtained by core biopsy, which may renew the interest of FNA as a first-line diagnostic modality for the diagnosis of different types of neoplasms (VanderLaan 2016).
Another important factor in the use of FNAC for evaluating breast lesions is the accuracy of the method to define the nature of the lesions (benign versus malignant) and to avoid doubtful reports that may require new procedures to confirm the diagnosis. The uncertainty of the diagnosis after FNAC may be attributable to the cytological characteristics of the lesion (high cellularity, nuclear pleomorphism, presence of non-cohesive epithelial cells, presence of mitosis and changes in the nucleus/cytoplasm ratio) or problems related to the technique and processing of the specimen obtained (Nakano et al. 2015; Mitra and Dey 2015). Benign lesions or those with low malignant potential that are difficult to diagnose via FNAB are mainly fibroadenomas, fibrocystic breast disease, radial scars, papillomas with epithelial hyperplasia, proliferative epithelial lesions with or without atypia, gynecomastia, lactation changes, fatty necrosis, and phyllodes tumors. For malignant lesions, classic lobular carcinoma, tubular carcinoma, mucinous carcinoma, lobular carcinoma in situ, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), nuclear grade 1, and well-differentiated breast carcinoma (not otherwise specified) are the most challenging to diagnose via FNAC (Perry et al. 2008; Nakano et al. 2015; Mitra and Dey 2015; Berner and Sauer 2011). Similar data were obtained in the present study. In previous studies, most specimens classified as groups 1, 3, and 4 could be classified as groups 2 or 5 if FNACs were carried out under appropriate conditions. This would avoid increased costs related to the need for further procedures to confirm the diagnosis and also shorten the interval between diagnosis and treatment initiation, which is particularly crucial in treating patients with malignant lesions. Some guidelines suggest that cases classified in categories 3 and 4 should not exceed more than 20% of the total cases (Perry et al. 2008; Mitra and Dey 2015). In the present study, 0.1% (12/8334) of cases in group 1, 4.8% (402/8334) in group 3, and 1.7% (140/8334) in group 4, corresponding to 6.6% (554/8334). The low levels of insufficient specimens (group 1) and undefined diagnoses (groups 3 and 4) are probably due to appropriate conditions in which FNAC was performed, allowing an accurate diagnosis in most cases.
It is important to note that among the lesions in group 3 (atypia, probably benign), 79.4% were confirmed to be benign on histopathological analysis, with only 20.6% considered malignant. Furthermore, almost half of these cases were diagnosed as DCIS (Table 1). For group 4 (atypia, probably malignant), 71.6% were histopathologically confirmed to be malignant (Table 1). Collectively, these results show that even in doubtful cases (groups 3 and 4), FNAC has good agreement with histopathological examination, offering important information for establishing an accurate diagnosis.
Some limitations may be present in a retrospective study such as the current one. The number of cases in groups 3, 4, and 5 was significantly lower than that in group 2. This may have introduced some selection bias; however, even though there was a proportionally smaller number in groups 3, 4, and 5, the number of cases was relatively large for all groups, which can minimize any undesirable effects in the analyses.
The results of this study show that FNAC is a reliable method for the diagnosis of small breast lesions (≤1.0 cm) as evidenced by the high accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV. FNAC findings correspond to those obtained via histopathological evaluation.
Availability of data and materials
The dataset supporting the conclusions of this article is included within the article.
Fine-needle aspiration cytology
Ductal carcinoma in situ
Ali ZS, Parwani AV (2007) Breast cytopathology. Springer, Baltimore, p 189
Anderson BO (2016) Fine-needle aspiration for breast cancer diagnosis: one size does not fit all. JNCCN J Natl Compr Cancer Netw 14:599–600
Beca F, Schmitt FC (2019) Ancillary tests in breast cytology: a practical guide. Acta Cytol 63:302–313
Berner A, Sauer T (2011) Fine-needle aspiration cytology of the breast. Ultrastruct Pathol 35:162–167
Bray F, Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Siegel RL, Torre LA, Jemal A (2018) Global cancer statistics 2018: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries. CA Cancer J Clin 68:394–424
Bueno Angela SP, Viero RM, Soares CT (2013) Fine needle aspirate cell blocks are reliable for detection of hormone receptors and HER-2 by immunohistochemistry in breast carcinoma. Cytopathology. 24:26–32
DeMay RM (2012) Art amp; Science of Cytopathology, 2nd edition. By Richard Mac DeMay. p. 2076.
Dong J, Ly A, Arpin R, Ahmed Q, Brachtel E (2016) Breast fine needle aspiration continues to be relevant in a large academic medical center: experience from Massachusetts General Hospital. Breast Cancer Res Treat 158:297–305
Field AS, Raymond WA, Rickard M, Arnold L, Brachtel EF, Chaiwun B et al (2019) The international academy of cytology Yokohama system for reporting breast fine-needle aspiration biopsy cytopathology. Acta Cytol 63:257–273
Field AS, Schmitt F, Vielh P (2017) IAC standardized reporting of breast fine-needle aspiration biopsy cytology. Acta Cytol 61:3–6
Globocan (2018) Top cancer per country, estimated age-standardized mortality rates (World) in 2018, females, all ages. Cancer Today:1 https://gco.iarc.fr/today/online-analysis-map?v=2018&mode=cancer&mode_population=continents&population=900&populations=900&key=asr&sex=2&cancer=39&type=1&statistic=5&prevalence=0&population_group=0&ages_group%5B%5D=0&ages_group%5B%5D=17&nb_items=5&group_c. Accessed 15 Sep 2019
Globocan Observatory W (2019a) Cancer today - world. Int Agency Res Cancer 876:2018–2019 https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/populations/900-world-fact-sheets.pdf. Accessed 15 Sep 2019
Globocan Observatory W. Brazil. 2019b. https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/populations/76-brazil-fact-sheets.pdf. Accessed 9 Sept 2019
Instituto Nacional do Câncer. Detecção precoce do câncer de mama. 2018. https://www.inca.gov.br/controle-do-cancer-de-mama/acoes-de-controle/deteccao-precoce. Accessed 15 Sep 2019
Instituto Nacional do Câncer (2019) Estimativa 2020: incidência de câncer no Brasil / Instituto Nacional de Câncer José de Alencar Gomes da Silva. INCA, Rio de Janeiro
Irwig L, Macaskill P, Houssami N (2002) Evidence relevant to the investigation of breast symptoms: the triple test. Breast. 11:215–220
Journal TB (2012) Expanded role of cytopathology in breast cancer. Breast J 18:17–18
Kocjan G (2006) Fine needle aspiration cytology: diagnostic principles and dilemmas. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, p 239
Kocjan G, Bourgain C, Fassina A, Hagmar B, Herbert A, Kapila K et al (2008) The role of breast FNAC in diagnosis and clinical management: a survey of current practice. Cytopathology. 19:271–278
Krogerus L, Kholová I (2018) Cell block in cytological diagnostics: review of preparatory techniques. Acta Cytol 62:237–243
Manfrin E, Falsirollo F, Remo A, Reghellin D, Mariotto R, Dalfior D et al (2009) Cancer size, histotype, and cellular grade may limit the success of fine-needle aspiration cytology for screen-detected breast carcinoma. Cancer Cytopathol. 117:491–499
Mitra S, Dey P (2015) Grey zone lesions of breast: potential areas of error in cytology. J Cytol 32:145–152
Mitra S, Dey P (2016) Fine-needle aspiration and core biopsy in the diagnosis of breast lesions: A comparison and review of the literature. CytoJ 13. https://doi.org/10.4103/1742-6413.189637
Myers ER, Moorman P, Gierisch JM, Havrilesky LJ, Grimm LJ, Ghate S et al (2015) Benefits and harms of breast cancer screening: a systematic review. JAMA. 314:1615–1634
Nakano S, Otsuka M, Mibu A, Oinuma T (2015) Significance of fine needle aspiration cytology and vacuum-assisted core needle biopsy for small breast lesions. Clin Breast Cancer 15:e23–e26
Orr B, Kelley JL (2016) Benign breast diseases: evaluation and management. Clin Obstet Gynecol 59:710–726
Perry N, Broeders M, de Wolf C, Törnberg S, Holland R, von Karsa L (2008) European guidelines for quality assurance in breast cancer screening and diagnosis. Fourth edition - summary document. Ann Oncol 2008(19):614–622
Rocha RD, Pinto RR, Aquino Tavares DPB, Aires Gonçalves CS (2013) Passo-a-passo da core biópsia de mama guiada por ultrassonografia: Revisão e técnica. Radiol Bras 46:234–241
Smith MJ, Heffron CC, Rothwell JR, Loftus BM, Jeffers M, Geraghty JG (2012) Fine needle aspiration cytology in symptomatic breast lesions: still an important diagnostic modality? Breast J 18:103–110
Tse GM, Tan P-H (2010) Diagnosing breast lesions by fine needle aspiration cytology or core biopsy: which is better? Breast Cancer Res Treat 123:1–8
Urban LABD, Chala LF, di Pace Bauab S, Schaefer MB, dos Santos RP, de Albuquerque Maranhão NM et al (2017) Recomendações do colégio Brasileiro de radiologia e diagnóstico por imagem, da sociedade Brasileira de mastologia e da federação Brasileira das associações de ginecologia e obstetrícia para o rastreamento do câncer de mama. Radiol Bras 50:244–249
VanderLaan PA (2016) Fine-needle aspiration and core needle biopsy: an update on 2 common minimally invasive tissue sampling modalities. Cancer Cytopathol 124:862–870
Wong HB, Lim GH (2011) Measures of diagnostic accuracy: sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV. Proc Singapore Healthc 20:316–318
Yamaguchi R, Tsuchiya SI, Koshikawa T, Ishihara A, Masuda S, Maeda I et al (2012) Diagnostic accuracy of fine-needle aspiration cytology of the breast in Japan: report from the working group on the accuracy of breast fine-needle aspiration cytology of the Japanese Society of Clinical Cytology. Oncol Rep 28:1606–1612
We are grateful to Ulisses Frederigue Junior, Maurício Chierici Lopes, Andrea Aparecida Fassoni, and Thiago Barreto Frederigue for carrying out the FNAC and diagnoses. We also thank Ana Lucia de Oliveira Garcia, Daniel de Amorim, Everson Moretti and Fábio da Silva Rodrigues for technical support.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
The present study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the State University of São Paulo “Júlio de Mesquita Filho” (UNESP), and the letter of discharge was authorized (“Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho” - CAE: 28211619.1.0000.5411 and according to the substantiated opinion number 3,822,926 in Platform Brazil).
Consent for publication
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Rights and permissions
Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
About this article
Cite this article
de Cursi, J.A.T., Marques, M.E.A., de Assis Cunha Castro, C.A.C. et al. Fine-Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC) is a reliable diagnostic tool for small breast lesions (≤ 1.0 cm): a 20-year retrospective study. Surg Exp Pathol 3, 29 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42047-020-00081-0
- Breast neoplasm
- Fine-needle aspiration cytology
- Small lesions