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Diagn Cytopathol. 1996 Jun;14(4):374-9.

Atypical reparative change on cervical/vaginal smears may be associated with dysplasia.

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Department of Pathology, yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


The Bethesda System for classifying cervical/vaginal smears has divided reparative changes into two categories: typical and atypical. Although atypical repair may be grouped with atypical squamous cells of unknown significance (ASCUS), this study selected cases specifically diagnosed as atypical reparative changes (ARC), which showed streaming sheets of cells and enlarged nuclei with nucleoli and anisonucleosis. Our goal was to determine the validity of grouping atypical repair with ASCUS. All cases were received by the Medical College of Virginia-Virginia Commonwealth University (MCV-VCU) pathology department in a 6-month period in 1993. Of 196 cases, 55 (28%) were biopsied within a subsequent 3-6-month period. Of these, 27 also carried a diagnosis of ASCUS (9), low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LGSIL) (15), or high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HGSIL) (3). The remaining 28 were presumably biopsied on the basis of clinical concern regarding a diagnosis of ARC. This group, which represents only 14% of the total with the ARC diagnosis, showed a spectrum of histologic changes from squamous metaplasia and chronic cervicitis to HGSIL. Surprisingly, 25% of these patients (7 of 28) showed changes of LGSIL or higher, including 2 (7%) showing HGSIL. This level of higher grade histologic findings justifies separation of atypical from typical repair. Although there are some cases with a significant histologic abnormality found with a cytologic diagnosis of ARC, the percentage of cases is not nearly as high as the 60% range seen associated with the diagnosis of ASCUS. Due to the lack of consensus on the clinical management of ASCUS, we find no justification to separate the diagnosis of ARC from that of ASCUS.

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