Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Surg Pathol. 2001 Mar;25(3):356-62.

Morphologic expressions of urothelial carcinoma in situ: a detailed evaluation of its histologic patterns with emphasis on carcinoma in situ with microinvasion.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


The recently proposed World Health Organization/International Society of Urological Pathology (WHO/ISUP) consensus classification of flat urothelial lesions expands the definition traditionally used for urothelial (transitional cell) carcinoma in situ (CIS), basing its diagnosis predominantly on the severity of cytologic changes. Lesions now encompassed within the diagnosis of CIS exhibit an array of cytologic and architectural features, which have not been documented in detail. In this study, cases were examined with respect to histologic patterns and microinvasion (invasion into the lamina propria to a depth of less than 2 mm). Five major patterns of CIS, often occurring in the same specimen (160 patterns in 77 cases), were noted. Common to each pattern was the presence of high-grade cytologic atypia, the definitional feature. The patterns found include 1) large cell CIS with pleomorphism (57%), in which the cells had abundant cytoplasm and nuclear pleomorphism; 2) large cell CIS without nuclear pleomorphism (48%); 3) small cell CIS (14%), in which the cytoplasm was relatively scant and pleomorphism was usually minimal; 4) clinging CIS (40%), in which the urothelium was denuded with a patchy, usually single layer of atypical cells; and 5) cancerization of urothelium (16%) with either pagetoid spread (clusters or isolated single cells) or undermining or overriding of the normal urothelium. Carcinoma in situ with microinvasion into the lamina propria (13 cases: 3 of 77 CIS cases studied above and 10 additional cases) was evident as invasive cells with retraction artifact mimicking vascular invasion (77%, 10 cases); nests, irregular cords, and strands, or isolated single cells with desmoplasia (8%, 1 case); or absent stromal response (15%, 2 cases). Although the diagnostic terminology for all of these patterns, for the purposes of the surgical pathology report, should be simply urothelial CIS with no specific mention of the morphologic pattern, awareness of the histologic diversity of CIS will facilitate the diagnosis of this therapeutically and biologically critical flat lesion of the urothelium. These lesions may be associated with microinvasion, which may be clinically unsuspected and histologically subtle.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Support Center