Identification of necrosis in tumors is of prognostic value in treatment planning, as necrosis is associated with aggressive forms of cancer and unfavourable outcomes. To facilitate rapid detection of necrosis with Mass Spectrometry (MS), we report the lipid MS profile of necrotic breast cancer with Desorption Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (DESI-MS) imaging validated with statistical analysis and correlating pathology. This MS profile is characterized by (1) the presence of the ion of m/z 572.48 [Cer(d34:1) + Cl]− which is a ceramide absent from the viable cancer subregions; (2) the absence of the ion of m/z 391.25 which is present in small abundance only in viable cancer subregions; and (3) a slight increase in the relative intensity of known breast cancer biomarker ions of m/z 281.25 [FA(18:1)-H]− and 303.23 [FA(20:4)-H]−. Necrosis is accompanied by alterations in the tissue optical depolarization rate, allowing tissue polarimetry to guide DESI-MS analysis for rapid MS profiling or targeted MS imaging. This workflow, in combination with the MS profile of necrosis, may permit rapid characterization of necrotic tumors from tissue slices. Further, necrosis-specific biomarker ions are detected in seconds with single MS scans of necrotic tumor tissue smears, which further accelerates the identification workflow by avoiding tissue sectioning and slide preparation.