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CytoJournal 2017,  14:22

Significance of finding benign endometrial cells in women 40–45 versus 46 years or older on Papanicolaou tests and histologic follow-up

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Correspondence Address:
Aziza Nassar
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cytojournal.cytojournal_16_17

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Background: The 2014 Bethesda System recommends reporting the finding of benign-appearing, exfoliated endometrial cells on Papanicolaou (Pap) tests in women aged 45 years and older. We aimed to determine the significance of normal endometrial cells on liquid-based Pap tests in women aged 40 years and older and to correlate this finding with clinical factors and cytologic/histologic follow-up. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively identified all women aged 40 years and older who had benign endometrial cells (BECs) on Pap tests at our institution during a 6-year period. Histologic follow-up and outcomes were evaluated. Results: Among 18,850 Pap tests during the study period, 255 (1.4%) had findings of BECs and 159 (62.4%) of these women had follow-up Pap tests or subsequent tissue sampling by surgical procedures. Of the 159 cases, only 4 (2.5%) had significant endometrial pathologic processes, all endometrial endometrioid adenocarcinoma (three women had postmenopausal bleeding and 1 was perimenopausal with menorrhagia). No women between ages 40 and 45 years had significant pathologic findings and only one woman between 46 and 50 years (47 years) had an endometrial endometrioid carcinoma (1.5%). Women older than 47 years have higher odds (5.38) of having a significant endometrial lesion (P = 0.029) than those who are ≤47. Conclusion: Clinically significant endometrial lesions occurred predominantly in women older than 50 years (4.6%) and in only one woman between ages 46 and 50 years (1.5%). Therefore, endometrial sampling should be performed in women aged 47 years and older with BECs, especially when additional clinical indicators (e.g., postmenopausal bleeding) are recognized.


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