• breast neoplasms;
  • hyperplasia;
  • risk assessment;
  • prevention and control


Proliferative disease accounts for as much as one-third of all biopsies for benign disease and 5–10% of proliferative lesions show atypia ductal or lobular hyperplasia. Nearly 40% of women with a family history of breast cancer and atypical hyperplasia subsequently develop breast cancer. A quantitative model developed by Gail and colleagues estimates the probability of developing breast cancer over time. Risk factors in the model include current age, ages at menarche and first live birth, number of previous biopsies, the presence of cellular atypia, and the number of first-degree relatives with breast cancer. Atypical hyperplasia approximately doubles the risk of developing invasive breast cancer within any quantitative risk profile. Ductal lavage provides a minimally invasive method of collecting breast epithelial cells. The procedure opens the possibility of repeatable tracking of breast cytology over time, but its role as a risk assessment tool remains to be fully defined. Diagn. Cytopathol. 2004;30:151-157. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.