Glandular lesions of the cervix in clinical practice: A cytology, histology, and human papillomavirus correlation study from 2 institutions

Ross A. Miller, Dina R. Mody, Kimberlee C. Tams, Michael J. Thrall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Context.-The Papanicolaou (Pap) test has indisputably decreased cervical cancer mortality, as rates have declined by up to 80% in the United States since its implementation. However, the Pap test is considered less sensitive for detecting glandular lesions than for detecting those of squamous origin. Some studies have even suggested an increasing incidence of cervical adenocarcinoma, which may be a consequence of a relatively reduced ability to detect glandular lesions with cervical cancer screening techniques. Objective.-To evaluate the detection rate of glandular lesions with screening techniques currently used for cervical cancer screening and to provide insight as to which techniques are most efficacious in our study population. Design.-We retrospectively reviewed any available cytology, human papillomavirus (HPV), and histologic malignancy data in patients diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in situ and adenocarcinoma from 2 geographically and socioeconomically disparate hospital systems. Identified patients having had a negative/unsatisfactory Pap test within 5 years of adenocarcinoma in situ or adenocarcinoma tissue diagnosis were considered Pap test screening failures. Patients with negative HPV tests on cytology samples were considered HPV screening failures. Results.-One hundred thirty cases were identified (age range, 22-93 years); 39 (30%) had no Pap history in our files. Eight of 91 remaining cases (8.8%) were screening failures. The detected sensitivity for identifying adenocarcinoma in situ/adenocarcinoma in this study was 91.2% by cytology alone and 92.3% when incorporating HPV testing. The most common cytologic diagnosis was atypical glandular cells (25 cases), and those diagnosed with adenocarcinoma were 7.4 years older than those diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in situ (50.3 versus 42.9 years). Nine of 24 HPV-tested cases (37.5%) were called atypical squamous cell of undetermined significance on cytology. Conclusions.-Our results highlight the importance of combined Pap and HPV cotesting. Although the number of cases identified is relatively small, our data suggest screening for squamous lesions facilitates the recognition of glandular lesions in the cervix. Additionally, increased use of combined Pap and HPV cotesting may decrease detection failure rates with regard to glandular lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1431-1436
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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