OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the diagnostic role of aspiration cytology in the preoperative management ofpatients with palpable breast lumps PATENTS & METHOD: A total of 510 Fine Needle Aspirations wereperformed on palpable breast masses. PERIOD: Jan - Dec 1999. SETTING: Department of Pathology,King Edward Medical College and Department of Pathology Allama Iqbal Medical College, Lahore.RESULTS: These included 497 (97.45%) female and 13 (2.54%) male patients. 148 aspirations (29.01%)were classified as malignant, 334 (65.49%) as benign, 11(2.15%) as suspicious and 17(3.33%) aspirates wereconsidered unsatisfactory for cytological diagnosis. 145 (29.17%) out of the total 497 female breastaspirations, and 3 (23.07%) out of 13(23.07%) male breast aspirations were classified as malignant.Fibrocystic Disease (24.54%) and Fibroadenoma (20.12%) were the most common benign female breastlesions followed by Pyogenic mastitis, tuberculous mastitis, galactocoele, traumatic fat necrosis etc. Benignmale breast lesions diagnosed by aspiration cytology included gynaecomastia, lipomas and tuberculousmastitis. CONCLUSION: FNAC is a simple sensitive & specific test for discriminating between benign& malignant lesions.