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J Obstet Gynaecol. 2000 Jul;20(4):403-7.

The abnormal glandular smear: cytologic prediction, colposcopic correlation and clinical management.

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Princess Margaret Hospital, Swindon, UK.


We reviewed recent cytological reporting of abnormal glandular cells on cervical smears in order to assess the predictive value of these reports and the contribution of colposcopy in the assessment of these abnormalities. The study consisted of a 5-year retrospective review of the clinical management of 80 women with abnormal glandular cells on a cervical smear, with clinical and histopathological data available for review in the interval 1992-1996. There were two groups of women: (i) those referred with gynaecological symptoms and (ii) those with screen detected abnormalities who were asymptomatic and significantly younger than the first group. The predictive value of a glandular smear for malignancy was 42.5% and for premalignancy 28.8%. The most common lesions detected were cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) (13), endometrial cancer (13), cervical adenocarcinoma (10) and cervical intraepithelial glandular neoplasia (CIGN) (8). Four cases of endometrial carcinoma presented through screening. In the remainder a variety of benign conditions were identified as responsible for the abnormal smear. Failure to find an explanation for the abnormal smear only occurred in 8.8%. In developing a protocol for abnormal glandular smears, our observations indicate that: (a) those with abnormal bleeding require endometrial sampling; (b) for those with screen detected abnormality, colposcopy is valuable as it is a sensitive predictor of early invasion and can predict glandular abnormality; (c)diseases of the entire genital tract, non-gynaecological viscera and metastatic cancer can generate cytological abnormality; (d) screen detected borderline abnormality in endocervical cells is associated with CIN III.


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