Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer. 2006 Oct 25;108(5):282-7.

Clinical implications of the diagnosis "atypical squamous cells, cannot exclude high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion" in pregnant women.

Author information

Department of Pathology, Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



Atypical squamous cells, cannot exclude high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (ASC-H) has a high predictive value for high-grade intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) in the general population. However, the significance of ASC-H in pregnant women remains to be elucidated. The objective of this study was to investigate the clinical implications and pathologic significance of ASC-H in pregnant women, so that these patients will be managed appropriately.


All Papanicolaou tests that were diagnosed as ASC-H in pregnant women over 1.5 years (total, 60 women) were reviewed and correlated with histologic and/or cytologic follow-up. High-risk type of human papillomavirus (HPV) status was also correlated with follow-up findings. The following cytomorphologic parameters were evaluated for each woman and were compared between the squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL) follow-up group and the benign follow-up group: inflammatory background, the number of atypical cells, cell arrangement pattern, nuclear irregularity/grooves, hyperchromasia, and cell shape.


Among 30 women who had histologic follow-up, 3 women (10%) had HSIL, and 13 women (43%) had low-grade intraepithelial lesion (LSIL). Among 32 women who had cytologic follow-up, 2 women (6%) had HSIL, 3 women (9%) had LSIL, 1 woman (3%) had ASC-H, and 3 women (9%) had atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS). HPV was detected in 24 of 43 women (56%). The cytomorphologic features were similar in the SIL follow-up group and the benign follow-up group. No specific cytomorphologic features that predicted underlying SIL were identified.


ASC-H in pregnant women had a lower predictive value for an underlying HSIL compared with the general population. A positive HPV test result was not a good indicator for an underlying SIL, but a negative result appeared to be useful for ruling out an underlying HSIL. Because of low positive predictive value for HSIL and the difficult colposcopic examination, a more conservative follow-up may be reasonable for pregnant women who have a diagnosis of ASC-H. HPV testing may be used as an adjunctive test.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center