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Acta Cytol. 2003 Mar-Apr;47(2):159-66.

Warty (condylomatous) carcinoma of the cervix. A review of 3 cases with emphasis on thin-layer cytology and molecular analysis for HPV.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, 3 Lok Man Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong, S.A.R., China.



To describe the thin-layer cytology (if available) and histologic findings of warty (condylomatous) carcinoma of the cervix, with molecular analysis for HPV screening.


The authors reviewed the clinical features, thin-layer cytology (if available) and histologic findings of all cases of warty carcinoma of the cervix encountered at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Hong Kong, during the 4-year period January 1998-April 2002. Molecular techniques for HPV screening using polymerase chain reaction were carried out on thin-layer cytology specimens or paraffin-embedded tumor tissue.


Three cases of warty carcinoma of the cervix were encountered during the study period. Thin-layer preparations (Autocyte, TriPath Imaging, Burlington, North Carolina, U.S.A.) were available for 2 of them, and both were of moderate cellularity. There were small, cohesive clusters and syncytial sheets of tumor cells with vague papillary configurations. Dispersed squamous carcinoma cells and necrotic tumor debris (diathesis) were focally present in the background. The tumor cells were polygonal to elongated and contained oval nuclei, coarse chromatin and sometimes distinct nucleoli. Dyskeratotic tumor cells with bizarre shapes were also noted. Characteristically, there were also many koilocytes demonstrating extreme nuclear atypia and increased nuclear/cytoplasm ratio. These koilocytic cells possessed pleomorphic nuclei, distinct nucleoli and perinuclear cytoplasmic halos. Histologic examination of the tumor biopsies showed classic features of warty carcinoma, with papillary architecture, obvious koilocytic cytopathic change and focal stromal invasion. Molecular analysis confirmed the presence of HPV DNA in all the samples.


Although koilocytes are rarely found in cervical cytology specimens of conventional squamous cell carcinoma, they are characteristically observed in warty carcinoma. A correct cytologic diagnosis is possible if one pays attention to the extreme koilocytic atypia, focal papillary configurations and otherwise classic features of squamous cell carcinoma. Abundance of koilocytes does not necessarily rule out invasive malignancy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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