Fine Needle Aspiration of Breast Masses in HIV-Infected Patients: Results From a Large Series

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BACKGROUND:There are limited studies investigating the cytopathology of HIV-related breast disease. The aim of the current study was to evaluate a large series of fine needle aspirations (FNA) performed on breast lesions in HIV-positive patients.METHODS:A retrospective review at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) in Johannesburg, South Africa, was performed on confirmed HIV-positive patients who underwent breast FNA. Cases were evaluated for patient age and sex, presence of a clinical breast lesion, antiretroviral therapy use, specimen adequacy, and cytologic diagnosis.RESULTS:A total of 152 breast FNA procedures were recorded in patients of average age 36 years (range, 10-64 years). Cytologic findings in 100 females patients included 28 inadequate aspirates, 29 cases with a benign diagnosis, 25 abscesses, 3 with reactive intramammary lymphadenopathy, 3 with fat necrosis, 1 galactocele, 1 papillary lesion, 8 breast carcinomas, and 2 non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Fifty-two males underwent breast FNA, of which 6 were inadequate, and 43 (82.7%) showed gynecomastia. In 17 (40%) males with gynecomastia, a history of antiretroviral therapy was recorded. Two males were diagnosed with breast abscess and 1 with Kaposi sarcoma. Microbiology culture revealed 7 Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections in this patient population.CONCLUSIONS:FNA is a procedure to evaluate breast lesions and is capable of rendering results useful for a broad range of diagnoses likely to be encountered in an human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive population. Unlike HIV-infected females who may present with a wide range of benign and neoplastic breast entities, HIV-positive males may have breast lesions that will most likely be attributed to gynecomastia associated with antiretroviral therapy.

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