Application of the Scarff-Bloom-Richardson tumor grading system to fine- needle aspirates of the breast

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Assigning a tumor grade to breast cancers provides important prognostic information. This study evaluated the applicability of the Scarff-Bloom- Richardson (SBR) breast cancer grading system to aspiration biopsy cytology. Thirty-five consecutive breast cancer fine-needle aspirates and their surgical specimens were reviewed by two pathologists. An SBR grade of 1-3 was assigned by each pathologist to both the fine-needle aspirate and biopsy specimen, based on the sum of scores given to each of three features: tubular differentiation, nuclear pleomorphism, and mitotic index. Both pathologists assigned the same SBR score to 74.3% of biopsy specimens and 65.7% of fine- needle aspirates. The cytologic grade could be used to predict the histologic grade in as many as 57.1% of cases. The wide disparities in the cytologic and histologic grades in some cases were chiefly due to difficulties in detecting mitoses or tubules in the cytology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-265
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994



  • Breast cancer
  • Cytology
  • Ductal carcinoma
  • Fine-needle aspiration
  • Prognostic markers
  • Tumor grading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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