Ductal lavage of the mammary ducts describes a technique for collecting epithelial cells from individual mammary ducts for subsequent cytologic analysis. Ductal lavage has been investigated as a diagnostic and risk assessment tool for patients with high risk of breast cancer but without clinical or mammographic findings. For example, the finding of atypical hyperplasia may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Malignant cells may also be identified.
Ductal lavage involves several steps. First, fluid yielding mammary ducts are identified and examined via ductoscopy and nipple aspiration is performed. Next a microcatheter is inserted into the natural nipple opening of the individual mammary ducts. Saline is then infused and ductal fluid withdrawn. The fluid is then analyzed microscopically for cytologic abnormalities.
Ductal lavage of the mammary ducts is considered experimental/investigational due to the lack of long-term studies.
Determined by the Oncology Liaison committee at the 02-19-02 meeting and approved by the Medical Advisory Committee in April 2002.
(Web updated 2/2005)
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