• cytomorphological criteria;
  • atypical glandular cells;
  • adenocarcinoma in situ;
  • neoplasia;
  • cervical smear


The objective of this study was to evaluate the frequency and the significance of cytomorphological criteria defined in studies as being predictive of neoplasia in cervical smears of women with a cytological diagnosis of atypical glandular cells (AGC) or adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS). Women (n = 103) with cytological findings suggestive of AGC or AIS, whose diagnoses were later established by histopathology, were included in the study. The criteria analyzed and classified as present or absent in cervical smears previously classified as AGC-NOS (not otherwise specified), AGC-FN (favor neoplasia), or AIS were as follows: irregular nuclear membranes; scanty cytoplasm; dyskeratotic cells; increased nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio; nucleoli; overlapping; papillary clusters, feathering; loss of polarity; nuclear enlargement; coarsely granular chromatin; and pseudostratified strips. Histopathology resulted in neoplastic diagnoses in 55 cases (53.3%) and nonneoplastic diagnoses in 48 cases (46.6%). Coarsely granular chromatin was observed in 62.5% of cases with a diagnosis of neoplasia. Feathering was present in 80% of cases of histopathological AIS. Loss of polarity and coarsely granular chromatin were significantly associated with neoplastic diagnosis considering all subcategories of glandular abnormalities diagnosis. In AGC-SOE subclassification, coarsely granular chromatin was significantly associated with neoplastic diagnosis. The presence of nucleoli was significantly associated with neoplastic diagnosis in cervical smears qualified as AGC-FN and AIS. Nuclear enlargement, increased nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio, coarsely granular chromatin and overlapping cells were found in all the subclassifications of glandular cell abnormalities irrespective of the histopathological results. Chromatin aspects, polarity, and presence of nucleoli can predict neoplasia. Diagn. Cytopathol. 2010;38:806-810. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.