Abstract Background The use of ductal lavage to obtain cells from within the breast ducts has been described for patients at high risk for breast cancer. The purpose of this study was to correlate ductal lavage cytologic findings with the corresponding histology. Methods Twenty-two patients were evaluated and 20 patients underwent ductal lavage followed by breast biopsy examination as a result of positive nipple aspiration fluid. Ductal lavage samples were classified by a cytopathologist as negative, mild atypia, marked atypia, or malignant. A different pathologist interpreted the histologic findings of the biopsy examination. Results Adequate specimens for cellularity were obtained in 12 of 22 (53%) patients: 6 of the 12 (50%) had both benign cytology and histology, 2 (16.7%) had benign cytology with atypical ductal hyperplasia or atypical lobular hyperplasia on histology, 2 (16.7%) had marked atypia on cytology and benign histology, and 2 (16.7%) had malignant cytology and benign histology. The specificity of the procedure was 83.4%. Conclusions Ductal lavage yielding an adequate sample for analysis was successful in only 52% of patients. Of those, the cytologic–histologic correlation was discordant in 50%. The role of ductal lavage in accurately predicting lesions present on subsequent breast histologic evaluation of planned biopsy examinations requires further investigation.