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Gynecol Oncol. 2009 Sep;114(3):383-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2009.05.019. Epub 2009 Jun 7.

Histologic follow-up results in 662 patients with Pap test findings of atypical glandular cells: results from a large academic womens hospital laboratory employing sensitive screening methods.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Magee-Womens Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3180, USA.



Atypical glandular cell (AGC) Pap interpretations and screening for glandular neoplasias remain major challenges. We document the largest reported AGC histopathologic follow-up experience and include verification bias-adjusted data on laboratory screening sensitivity.


AGC Pap tests of endocervical origin (AGC-EC), endometrial origin (AGC-EM), and not otherwise specified (AGC-NOS) were documented at a center serving an older low risk population. 98% of Pap tests were liquid-based cytology (LBC) specimens screened using computer-assisted screening. Follow-up diagnoses were correlated with cytology and stratified into age groups. Screening sensitivity was assessed by examining Pap results during 1 year preceding neoplastic diagnoses. Verification bias was adjusted with findings in over 2000 patients with hysterectomies.


Of 247,131 Pap tests, 1021 (0.41%) reported AGC results and 662 cases had tissue follow-up. Precancerous or malignant neoplastic histologic outcomes were documented in 101 patients (15.3%), including 8.3% cervical, 6.3% endometrial, and 0.6% ovarian. AGC results were most often associated with neoplastic cervical outcomes in women younger than 40 and with neoplastic endometrial outcomes in women 50 or older. AGC-NOS with a squamous cell abnormality and AGC-EC results suggested cervical neoplasia, while AGC-EM results suggested endometrial neoplasia.


AGC Pap results detected significant numbers of cervical and non-cervical neoplasias. Since 38 of 44 (86%) of AGC-detected carcinomas were endometrial or ovarian, HPV co-testing would not have aided screening in detecting the majority of malignancies diagnosed after AGC Pap results. Verification bias-adjusted Pap screening sensitivity in the laboratory for detection of significant neoplastic cervical disease was 93%.

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