Atypical glandular cells on cervical cytology and breast disease: what is the association?

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OBJECTIVE: To determine whether metastatic mammary carcinoma can be detected on cervical cytology in patients with atypical glandular cells (AGCs).

METHODS: This blinded study of AGC cases with a matched control group was approved by Hartford Hospital institutional review board. Between January 2002 and November 2008, inclusive, all Pap tests in our database with AGC were identified. The AGC cases from patients with breast disease, compared with the control group of AGC patients without breast disease, were reanalyzed independently by 2 pathologists.

RESULTS: Among the 40 women who had an AGC Pap test with breast disease, 21 cases were available for review (16 with invasive and 5 with in situ breast lesions). Seventeen cases of AGC in patients without breast disease served as the control group. The 2 pathologists agreed with the original Pap finding (AGC) in 84.2% to 89.5% of cases. There were no cases, either among those with breast disease or those without, where cells consistent with breast disease were seen, nor were "tamoxifen cells" identified, on Pap testing.

CONCLUSIONS: Studies have found that an association exists between patients with AGCs on cervical cytology and extrauterine malignancies, including breast disease. The results of this analysis would suggest that, at least for breast disease, the higher association of cancer or precancerous lesions in those with AGC is not related to the direct extension of disease or metastasis. Further research will be needed to help delineate the potential etiology of this association.

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J Low Genit Tract Dis





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