Skip to main content

Can touch imprint cytology replace fine needle aspiration within current clinical practice?


To investigate whether touch imprint cytology (TIC) of needle core biopsy (NCB) is as effective as fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) for providing same-day diagnosis of benign and malignant breast lesions at our one-stop symptomatic breast clinic.


We prospectively studied 426 women with image-detected breast lesions who underwent FNAC and NCB with subsequent TIC. All of the FNAC and TIC samples were sent for immediate reporting. These were read by one of five consultant cytopathologists. The TIC results were subsequently compared with the definitive histopathology from either the core biopsy or the final surgical specimen.


Complete data were present for all patients. TIC was compared with FNAC in providing an accurate and definitive same-day diagnosis in lesions graded C2 (benign) and C5 (malignant). For FNAC, C2 = 75/426 and C5 = 210/426 allowing 66.8% of women a definite same-day diagnosis. For TIC, C2 = 92/426 and C5 = 223/426 allowing 73.8% of women a definite same-day diagnosis. There were no false positive results.


The accuracy of TIC is at least equivalent to FNAC when used as a stand-alone technique for definitive same-day diagnosis from a single biopsy. We therefore conclude that FNAC is no longer necessary, thus saving a second invasive procedure.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kinkaid, H., Yarr, J., Hall, S. et al. Can touch imprint cytology replace fine needle aspiration within current clinical practice?. Breast Cancer Res 12 (Suppl 3), P14 (2010).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Complete Data
  • Invasive Procedure
  • False Positive Result
  • Breast Lesion
  • Needle Core Biopsy