Objective: To identify associations between cytological criteria in fine needle aspiration (FNA) specimens and histological subtypes of lobular breast carcinoma (classical and other types). Study Design: FNA cytology and mastectomy specimens from 72 cases of invasive lobular breast carcinoma were consecutively retrieved from the files of the Amaral de Carvalho Hospital, Jaú-São Paulo, Brazil. All cases were reviewed regarding five cytological criteria: cellularity, cellular cohesion, presence of inflammation, nucleoli and nuclear atypia. The χ2 test or Fisher's exact tests with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used. Results: The classical type showed lower initial cytological diagnosis of malignancy compared to the other variants (p = 0.017; odds ratio (OR) 0.26, 95% CI 0.89-0.80). Moderate/intense cellular cohesion (p = 0.011; OR 0.18, 95% CI 0.04-0.73) and mild atypia (p = 0.000; OR 16.15, 95% CI 3.20-81.48) were significantly associated with the classical type of lobular breast carcinoma, while the absence of inflammation (p = 0.082; OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.12-1.15) was marginally associated with the classical type. Conclusions: In cytology, the characterization of lobular carcinoma as malignant is difficult, especially the classical type. The association between cell cohesion and the classical type of lobular breast carcinoma may be one of the factors that complicate this diagnosis.

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