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Cancer. 1998 Dec 25;84(6):335-43.

Urine cytology of primary and secondary urinary bladder adenocarcinoma.

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Department of Pathology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and John L. McClellan Veterans Hospital, Little Rock 72205, USA.



Primary and secondary adenocarcinomas of the urinary bladder are uncommon, and the urine cytology of these tumors has rarely been described. Familiarity with the cytomorphology of these neoplasms may facilitate their detection in urine cytology specimens.


The authors reviewed 46 urine samples (19 voided, 19 instrumented, and 8 bladder washings) from 41 patients with biopsy-proven primary urinary bladder adenocarcinoma (n = 11) or metastatic adenocarcinoma (n = 35) from the prostate (n = 17), colon (n = 10), breast (n = 3), kidney (n = 3), or uterus (n = 1), or from unknown origin (n = 1). Cytomorphology, the role of cytology, and causes for negative diagnoses were evaluated.


Cytologic diagnoses of malignancy, adenocarcinoma not otherwise specified, and adenocarcinoma of a specific type were given in 87%, 28%, and 39% of cases, respectively. Columnar cells, coarse chromatin, and necrosis were found in adenocarcinoma of the colon. Syncytial and acinar arrangements, round or oval nuclei, vesicular chromatin, and prominent nucleoli were commonly found in adenocarcinoma of the prostate. These features permitted us to make a specific diagnosis in 90% of cases of adenocarcinoma of the colon and 41% of cases of adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Cytologic examination failed to lead to a diagnosis of malignancy in 18% of primary adenocarcinoma cases.


A large number of adenocarcinomas of the colon and prostate have sufficient cytologic features to suggest the correct diagnosis in urine samples. The cytomorphology of primary bladder adenocarcinoma is not as easily characterized. The submucosal nature of some metastatic deposits and tumor differentiation influence the diagnostic accuracy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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