Neuroendocrine carcinomas of the breast are uncommon tumors known to occur in the elderly. While focal neuroendocrine differentiation may be noted in many ductal and lobular carcinomas, the term neuroendocrine carcinoma is to be applied when more than 50% of the tumor shows such differentiation. This case report details the cytological features of a neuroendocrine carcinoma that was encountered in our hospital. The fine needle aspiration (FNA) smears showed discohesive polygonal cells with abundant cytoplasm, many of which contained eosinophilic granules located at one pole. Histology of the mastectomy and axillary lymph nodes specimen from this patient showed features of neuroendocrine carcinoma--solid type, with metastasis, confirmed with immunohistochemistry. The patient is disease free seven months after surgery. This case highlights the need to closely observe cytological details to identify this rare tumor that may otherwise appear to be invasive duct carcinoma--not otherwise specified on FNA. The implications of diagnosing neuroendocrine differentiation for prognosis and management are also discussed.
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