• breast;
  • fine needle aspiration;
  • review


Over the past decade, core biopsy rapidly replaced fine needle aspiration (FNA) in evaluation of diseases of the female breast in many centers in the USA. The inability to diagnose invasive cancer by FNA, and the general feeling of unease in interpretation of cytologic specimens among pathologists who are not trained in cytopathology are among factors leading to decline in the use of FNA. At our institution, we continue to rely heavily on FNA for evaluation of breast masses. In this article, we discuss our multidisciplinary team approach which is essential in sustaining a successful breast cancer screening program. We also review the general utility of breast FNA and core biopsy in a comparative fashion. In the second part of this article which will appear in an upcoming issue, we will review the use of FNA and core biopsy in challenging breast lesions focusing on the pitfalls and limitations of both modalities in selected specific lesions. Diagn. Cytopathol. 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.