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Bloody nipple discharge is a predictor of breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis

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Nipple discharge is a common complaint of patients with breast disease. The color of nipple discharge is always the first alarming symptom for patients. It is controversial whether the discharge color is an indicator of an underlying malignancy. The electronic database PubMed was searched for relevant articles. A meta-analysis about the association between the color of nipple discharge and breast cancer risk was conducted. Eight studies, including 3,110 patients, were eligible for this meta-analysis. Compared with patients in non-bloody nipple discharge group (179/1,478), patients in bloody nipple discharge group (404/1,632) had a markedly higher breast cancer risk (OR: 2.27, 95% CI: 1.32–3.89, P < 0.001 for heterogeneity). Compared with patients in clear/serous group (71/575), patients in bloody nipple discharge group (326/1,271) also had a higher risk (OR: 2.49, 95% CI: 1.25–4.93, P = 0.011 for heterogeneity). Furthermore, compared with patients in the colored group (55/448), patients in bloody nipple discharge group (296/1,124) (OR: 2.00, 95% CI: 0.74–5.45, P = 0.009 for heterogeneity) had no significant difference. Besides, there was no significant difference between patients in colored group (55/448) and clear/serous group (61/470) (OR: 1.35, 95% CI: 0.83–2.18, P = 0.707 for heterogeneity). Therefore, bloody nipple discharge could be a predictor of breast cancer risk among different colors of discharges. The symptom of bloody nipple discharge is helpful to the stratification of preoperative patients.

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This study was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81071753), the Six Kinds of Outstanding Talent Foundation of Jiangsu Province (06-B-069 and 2009, To Qiang Ding), the Science and Education for Health Foundation of Jiangsu Province (RC2007054), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK2008476, BK2009438, and BK2010581), the Program for Development of Innovative Research Team in the First Affiliated Hospital of NJMU (IRT-008), and A project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu higher Education Institutions (PAPD).

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Correspondence to Shui Wang.

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Ling Chen and Wen-Bin Zhou contributed equally to this study.

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Chen, L., Zhou, WB., Zhao, Y. et al. Bloody nipple discharge is a predictor of breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Breast Cancer Res Treat 132, 9–14 (2012).

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