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Core needle biopsy versus fine needle aspiration biopsy in breast—A historical perspective and opportunities in the modern era


  • Aziza Nassar M.D., F.I.A.C.

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Anatomic Pathology, Mayo Clinic, SW, Hilton 11-42A, Rochester, Minnesota 55902
    • Division of Anatomic Pathology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street, SW Hilton 11-42A, Rochester, MN 55902
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Breast fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) by palpation is on the decline, due to its limitations in diagnostic accuracy, decreased sensitivity, and its replacement with core needle biopsy (CNB). Despite its decreasing utility, superficial fine-needle aspiration (FNA) in breast is still the main modality for evaluating metastatic lesions, recurrence, and axillary lymph node metastasis. New modalities including proteomic pattern expression and methylation profiling of breast lesions are other promising techniques that can be used as ancillary tests for refining the diagnosis of breast lesions using FNAB. Image-guided breast FNA proves to be a successful alternative with high sensitivity and specificity. In this review, the advantages, disadvantages, and inherent limitations of breast FNA and CNB, and new advanced techniques are discussed. Diagn. Cytopathol. 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.