The diagnosis of malignant breast lumps using fine needle aspiration cytology and ultrasonography versus histopathology

  • Ahmed Abdulkadir Baban Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq.
Keywords: Fine needle aspiration cytology, Ultrasonography, Breast lumps


Background and objective: The most common cancer of women worldwide is breast cancer and usually presents as a breast lump. Fine needle aspiration cytology and ultrasonography are two investigational techniques used to differentiate malignant breast lump from benign one. This study aimed to find out and compare the specificity, sensitivity, and predictive values of ultrasonography versus fine needle aspiration cytology for the diagnosis of malignant breast lump.

Methods: Patients who presented with clinically palpable breast lump at the department of Surgery, Rizgary Teaching Hospital, Erbil, from October 2014 to March 2016, were included. The age of the study participants ranged from 15 to 56 years. The highest rate (28.9%) was among the age group 35-45 years. Breast abscess, cystic breast lumps, and recurrent lumps have been excluded. The ultrasonographic evaluation was done by using 7.5 MHz probe for all patients at the department of radiology and fine needle aspiration cytology at the department of histopathology. All the patients underwent excision of the lumps, and histopathological examination was done for tissues. Specificity, sensitivity, and predictive values of ultrasonography and fine needle aspiration cytology were estimated, taking the histopathological result as the gold standard. A comparison of values was made.

Results: Ninety patients with 93 breast lumps were included in this study. Fine needle aspiration cytology reported 28 lumps as malignant lumps and 63 as benign, and two cases were indeterminate. Ultrasonography reported 27 cases as malignant, 54 as benign, and nine as indeterminate, while three breast lumps were failed to be detected. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of ultrasonography and fine needle aspiration cytology in diagnosing malignant breast lump were 94.74%, 100%, 100%, 97.22%, and 90.48%, 100%, 100%, 95.24%,respectively.

Conclusion: Ultrasonography and fine needle aspiration cytology are 100% specific in diagnosing malignant breast lesions. Although ultrasonography appears more sensitive than fine needle aspiration cytology, it has a higher percentage of the indeterminate report.


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How to Cite
Baban, A. (2021). The diagnosis of malignant breast lumps using fine needle aspiration cytology and ultrasonography versus histopathology. Zanco Journal of Medical Sciences (Zanco J Med Sci), 25(1), 423-430.
Original Articles