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Cytopathology. 2009 Dec;20(6):375-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2303.2008.00629.x. Epub 2009 Jan 21.

Atypical glandular cells in cervical smears: histological correlation and a suggested plan of management based on age of the patient in a low-resource setting.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India, Pin - 160012..



To perform an audit of all smears reported as atypical glandular cells (AGC) using the Bethesda system (TBS) 2001.


A total of 18 376 cervical smears were screened from January 2005 to June 2007, of which 65 cases were reported as AGC. Follow-up histology was available in 31 cases (47.7%), in whom a detailed cytological/histological correlation was carried out.


AGC constituted 0.35% of all Pap smears. Follow-up histology was normal or benign in 20 cases, whereas a squamous or glandular abnormality was seen in 11 cases. Squamous abnormalities included one case each of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)1, CIN2 and CIN3 and five cases of squamous cell carcinoma. All glandular epithelial abnormalities were endometrial in origin and included two endometrial adenocarcinomas and one uterine serous carcinoma. Neither in situ nor invasive adenocarcinoma of the endocervix was observed. Review of smears and reclassification as AGC, not otherwise specified and favour neoplasia revealed a higher proportion of abnormality in the latter group, reaffirming the utility of subtyping. The median age of women with AGC was 41 years. The outcome was analysed with respect to the median age. In women aged equal or more than 40 years, AGC reflected a high-grade squamous or glandular epithelial abnormality in 50% of cases compared with none in those less than 40 years old (P = 0.010).


The age of the woman as well as the subtype of atypical glandular cells influences outcome and hence must be taken into consideration while formulating an acceptable management strategy in these women in a low-resource setting.

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