Atypical glandular cells in Pap tests: cytology-histology correlation and risk assessment with human papillopmavirus (HPV) testing

Lianna H. Goetz, Heidi L. Evans, Donna Armylagos, Haijun Zhou, Dina R. Mody, Mary R. Schwartz, Yimin Ge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Atypical glandular cells (AGC) represent less than 1% of Pap test cases and include a variety of lesions in both the cervix and endometrium. The study aimed to investigate the cytology-histology correlation in AGC patients and to evaluate the clinical utility of hrHPV testing in this diagnostic context. Materials and methods: We identified 491 atypical glandular cells (AGC) cases in our quality analysis (QA) database of 336,064 Pap tests interpreted between March 1, 2013 and July 12, 2016. Of these, 251 cases had follow-up biopsies with hrHPV tests in 148 cases. Results: The most common histologic diagnosis associated with AGC was normal/benign or low-grade lesions, comprising 55% of cervical biopsies and 24% of endometrial biopsies. High-grade lesions were identified in 21% of follow-up biopsies. In patients with AGC cytology, a positive hrHPV test significantly increased the likelihood of cervical HSIL or above lesions on biopsy by 26.4 times (OR = 26.4, 95% CI: 5.8-119.4, P < 0.0001). A positive genotyping result for HPV 16 dramatically increased the likelihood of cervical HSIL or above lesions on biopsy (OR = 84, 95% CI: 12.0-590.5, P < 0.0001). The HPV test had a negative predictive value of 97% (CI: 85%-100%). Conclusions: Our study confirms that AGC is a significant diagnosis with an overall risk for high-grade cervical or endometrial lesions as high as 21%. hrHPV testing with genotyping is an effective tool for identifying high-risk individuals within the AGC population, with excellent positive and negative predictive values. This approach is valuable for clinical risk stratification and differential diagnosis in patients with AGC cytology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-232
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Society of Cytopathology
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2024

Keywords

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Atypical glandular cells (AGC)
  • Cervical cancer
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) test
  • Papanicolaou (Pap) test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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