Pap Smears in Endometrial Adenocarcinoma: Does It Have a Role?

Document Type : Research Articles


Department of Pathology, SDM College of Medical Sciences and Hospital, Dharwad, Karnataka, India.


Background: Historically the conventional Pap smear has been an effective screening tool for Carcinoma cervix. However the reporting of benign and malignant endometrial cells on Pap smear has remained controversial. There are very few studies addressing the utility of Pap smears in diagnosing endometrial carcinomas. Objective: To rescreen the Pap smears of patients with endometrial adenocarcinoma for the detection of normal/ atypical endometrial cells and to correlate with clinico-pathological parameters. Methods: The present study was carried out at SDM College of Medical Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka, India for a period of 7 years. Of the 89 endometrial cancers diagnosed, Pap smear slides were available in 32 patients, which were reviewed and classified as normal cells/ atypical cells. Corresponding biopsy slides were reviewed for tumour type, nuclear grade, myometrial invasion and stage. Statistical tests of independence were applied for selected clinico-pathological parameters. Results: Cervical cytology was normal in nine patients (28.1%) and atypical in 23 patients ( 71.2%). The most common histological type was endometrioid carcinoma in 27 cases (84%). 13 cases(40.5%) had nuclear grade 1 whereas 9 cases(28%) and 10 cases(31.2%) had grades 2 and 3, respectively. Of the 22 cases assessed for invasion and stage, 12 cases had <1/2 of invasion (41.2%) and remaining 10 cases had >1/2 of invasion (58.8%). Early stages (I and II) had 17 cases (77.27%) and advanced stage (III and IV )had 5 cases (23.5 %). Significant correlation was found between post-menopausal status and higher nuclear grades (p<0.05).Conclusion: Pap smear is primarily a screening test for squamous cell carcinoma cervix. If atypical glandular cells are seen, further investigations are required to rule out neoplasia. All women with atypical endometrial cells on Pap tests need endometrial sampling irrespective of age/menstrual status.


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