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CytoJournal 2015,  12:8

Cytological variations and typical diagnostic features of endocervical adenocarcinoma in situ: A retrospective study of 74 cases

1 Department of Molecular Pathology, Graduate School of Health Care Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University; Department of Pathology, Jikei University Hospital, Tokyo, Japan
2 Department of Pathology, Jikei University Hospital, Tokyo, Japan
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
4 Department of Pathology, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
5 Department of Molecular Pathology, Graduate School of Health Care Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan

Correspondence Address:
Motoji Sawabe
Department of Molecular Pathology, Graduate School of Health Care Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1742-6413.156081

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Background: The sensitivity of Papanicolaou smears for detecting endocervical adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS) is very low. A comprehensive cytological analysis of endocervical AIS is necessary to increase diagnostic accuracy. Methods: The subjects were 74 patients with pathologically-diagnosed AIS. A total of 140 Papanicolaou smears were reviewed to calculate the sensitivity of the Papanicolaou smears for detecting AIS and the incidence of sampling/screening/diagnostic errors. The cytological review was performed by 6 cytotechnologists, and the final cytological diagnosis was obtained at the consensus meeting. We classified the cases into three differentiation types; typical type (well-differentiated AIS), polymorphic type (poorly differentiated AIS), and mixed typical and polymorphic type. Three cytological subtypes (endocervical, endometrioid and intestinal subtypes) of AIS were also analyzed. Results: The sensitivity of the original Papanicolaou smears for the detection of AIS was 44.6%, while that for the detection of AIS and adenocarcinoma was 63.5%. The diagnostic accuracy of AIS increased to 78.5% in the final diagnosis. The common characteristic features were microbiopsies/hyperchromatic crowded groups (HCG) (82.0%) and mitotic figures (72.2%). The appearance of single cells (2.8%) was rare, and all the cervical cytology smears showed no evidence of necrotic tumor diathesis. The most common AIS was the typical type (41 cases, 67.2%) among all cytologically-diagnosed AIS or adenocarcinoma cases (61 cases). Although mixed typical and polymorphic AIS existed in 17 cases (27.9%), pure polymorphic AIS was very rare (3 cases, 4.9%). The endocervical subtype was the most predominant subtype (67.2%), followed by a few mixed subtypes. The important diagnostic keys for AIS cytology are as follows: (1) The appearance of microbiopsies/HCG (single-cell pattern is rare), (2) mitotic figures in the microbiopsies/HCG, (3) a lack of necrotic tumor diathesis in cases with polymorphic AIS, and (4) recognition of typical cytological subtypes. Conclusions: The relatively low diagnostic accuracy AIS was caused by the underestimation of microbiopsies/HCG and the overestimation of polymorphic components. The typical cytological features of AIS are the presence of microbiopsies/HCG with mitotic figures in the absence of necrotic tumor diathesis in specimens containing endocervical samples. The recognition of infrequent AIS subtypes (endometrioid and intestinal subtypes) is also important.


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