False-negative Papanicolaou tests in women with biopsy-proven invasive endocervical adenocarcinoma/adenocarcinoma in situ: a retrospective analysis with assessment of interobserver agreement

Michelle Lin, Siroratt Narkcham, Angela Jones, Donna Armylagos, Brittany DiPietro, Onyinyechukwu Okafor, Patrick Tracey, Tiffany Vercher, Sara Vasquez, Susan Haley, Suzanne Crumley, Blythe Gorman, Elizabeth Jacobi, Mojgan Amrikachi, Donna Coffey, Dina Mody, Ekene Okoye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: The objectives of our study were to identify factors contributing to false-negative Papanicolaou (Pap) tests in patients with endocervical adenocarcinoma (EA) or adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS), and to analyze the impact of educational instruction on interobserver agreement in these cases. Materials and methods: False-negative Pap tests from patients with EA/AIS were reviewed by a consensus group and by 12 individual reviewers in 2 rounds, with an educational session on glandular neoplasia in Pap tests conducted between the 2 rounds. Results: Of 79 Pap tests from patients with EA/AIS, 57 (72.2%) were diagnosed as abnormal and 22 (27.8%) as negative. Of the 22 false-negative cases, 10 remained negative on consensus review, with false-negative diagnoses attributed to sampling variance. The other 12 cases were upgraded to epithelial abnormalities (including 8 to glandular lesions). The false-negative diagnoses were attributed to screening variance in 2 cases and interpretive variance in 10 cases. On individual review, abnormal cells were misinterpreted as reactive glandular cells or endometrial cells in 7 of 8 and 5 of 8 cases upgraded to glandular abnormalities, respectively. With education, the proportion of individual reviewers demonstrating at least moderate agreement with the consensus diagnosis (Cohen's kappa >0.4) increased from 33% (4 of 12) to 75% (9 of 12). Conclusions: Sampling and interpretive variance each accounted for nearly one-half of the false-negative Pap tests, with underclassification as reactive glandular or endometrial cells the main source of the interpretive variances. Educational instruction significantly decreased the interpretive variance and interobserver variability in the diagnosis of glandular abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Society of Cytopathology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Adenocarcinoma in situ
  • Atypical glandular cells
  • Endocervical adenocarcinoma
  • Glandular
  • Papanicolaou test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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