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Cancer. 2004 Aug 25;102(4):210-7.

Severe cervical glandular cell lesions and severe cervical combined lesions: predictive value of the papanicolaou smear.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cytopathology, University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.



The purpose of the current study was to determine the accuracy of routinely screened cervical smears to predict a glandular cell lesion in histologically confirmed cases of cervical adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS), invasive adenocarcinoma (ADCA), adenosquamous carcinoma (ADSQCA), and severe combined glandular and squamous cell lesions.


Between 1989-2000, a total of 1,141 women with a histologic diagnosis of cervical AIS, ADCA, ADSQCA, and combined lesions (glandular cell lesion with a coexistent squamous cell lesion) were registered in the Dutch National Pathology Archive (PALGA). In 1054 of these 1,141 histologic cases, an additional conventional Papanicolaou (Pap) smear diagnosis was registered from the same patient. Material was evaluated with regard to the accuracy of cytologic diagnosis, the percentage of combined lesions, the mean age of the patients, and the time interval between AIS and ADCA.


Of 1,141 registered histologic cases, 57.5% were registered as having an "intraepithelial" lesion, whereas 42.5% were registered as having an "invasive" process. A combined process was diagnosed in 63.2% of cases. From the same patients, a cytologic diagnosis of a severe cervical epithelial lesion was registered in PALGA for 91.2% (n = 961) of 1054 cases. A cytologic registration of a severe glandular cell lesion (with or without a squamous cell component) was made in 547 cases (51.9%). Prediction of a severe glandular cell lesion on the Pap smear was found to be more accurate in cases of histologically confirmed pure glandular cell abnormalities than in cases with a histologic diagnosis of a combined lesion. The cytologic prediction was found to be correct in 75.2% of cases of pure AIS and 47.3% of cases of AIS with coexistent high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HGSIL) (cervical intraepithelial lesion [CIN] type 2 [CIN 2] or CIN 3). The mean ages of the patients with AIS and AIS + HGSIL were 37.3 years and 34 years, respectively, whereas the mean age of the patients with ADCA and ADCA + HGSIL was 41.9 years and 38.1 years, respectively. The interval between the average ages of patients with AIS and ADCA and those with AIS + HGSIL and ADCA + HGSIL was 4.6 years and 4.1 years, respectively.


On the basis of a data search of the PALGA registry, it can be concluded that in a relatively large number of cases a severe cervical glandular cell lesion was not diagnosed on the Pap smear. Furthermore, data demonstrated that the prediction of a glandular abnormality is less accurate in cases of combined squamoglandular cell lesions than in pure glandular cell lesions.

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