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Am J Surg Pathol. 1998 Aug;22(8):965-75.

Adenoid basal epitheliomas of the uterine cervix: a reevaluation of distinctive cervical basaloid lesions currently classified as adenoid basal carcinoma and adenoid basal hyperplasia.

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Department of Anatomic Pathology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195, USA.


A series of 12 adenoid basal carcinomas and three adenoid basal hyperplasias of the cervix were analyzed. The ages of the patients with adenoid basal carcinoma ranged from 30 to 91 years with a mean of 71 years. Pap smear results for 11 of 12 (92%) were abnormal. Almost all patients were asymptomatic. None had a gross cervical tumor. All tumors had typical histologic features of adenoid basal carcinoma, with various degrees of squamous differentiation. Depth of tumor invasion ranged from 2 mm to 10 mm (mean, 4.3 mm; median, 3.7 mm), exceeding 3 mm in six tumors (50%). Tumor volume was >500 mm3 in four tumors (33%). An associated neoplastic squamous lesion was present in 92% of patients, including high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in 10 cases and microinvasive squamous cell carcinoma in one. Treatment was predominantly surgical, usually after some form of cervical conization; conization alone was performed in three patients. Lymph nodes were removed in five patients; none of 104 nodes had metastases. No recurrence of tumor developed in any patient. Nine patients were alive without disease after 4 to 82 months (mean, 30 months), and three died without disease after 24, 63, and 87 months. The three patients with adenoid basal hyperplasia also were asymptomatic and did not have a gross cervical lesion. Pap smear results for two patients were abnormal. The adenoid basal hyperplasias were incidental, very superficial lesions that resembled small adenoid basal carcinomas. Generally, they were attached to the squamous or endocervical mucosal epithelium; all were less than 0.5 mm in depth. Treatment was hysterectomy in one patient and conization in two. Follow-up was short but uneventful. Our findings, together with those previously reported, indicate (1) adenoid basal carcinoma with typical histologic features is not a malignant neoplasm in that it typically presents in asymptomatic women, usually is discovered after an abnormal Pap smear result due to cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, does not produce a grossly visible lesion, has never metastasized to regional lymph nodes or elsewhere, and has never itself caused death; (2) rare, histologically atypical tumors with distinctly malignant features should not be regarded as adenoid basal carcinoma; and (3) adenoid basal hyperplasia probably is a small adenoid basal carcinoma. We propose the term "adenoid basal epithelioma" to replace adenoid basal carcinoma and adenoid basal hyperplasia, because it better describes the clinicopathologic features of these distinctive lesions and their excellent prognosis and may reduce the likelihood of unnecessarily aggressive treatment.

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