A clinical review of borderline glandular cells on cervical cytology


Correspondence: Dr D. K. A. Mohammed, Gynaecological Oncology Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead NE9 6SX, UK.


Objective To review the diagnoses and diagnostic pathway of women presenting with borderline glandular cells on cervical cytology. To outline the basis of clinical approach of these women.

Design Retrospective review.

Population Forty-three women referred to the hospital department over a 32-month period.

Methods Review of the casenotes for the demographic data, previous cervical cytology and/or histology report, indication for the smear resulting in borderline glandular cells, colposcopic findings, diagnostic and/or treatment procedures, final diagnosis and current status.

Results The average age was 36.7 years. Twenty-four women (56%) had clinically significant lesions: seven women (16%) presented with cancers, of which one was endometrial in origin, and 17 (40%) with intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN and cervical glandular intraepithelial neoplasia (CGIN)). Sixty-seven percent of all clinically significant lesions were of squamous origin. Thirty-seven had histological diagnosis, while six went on to cytological surveillance. Colposcopy was the most significant predictor for clinically significant lesions (P < 0.05). Punch biopsies and loop excisions were diagnostic when based on abnormal colposcopic findings. Brush cytology was appropriate follow up for asymptomatic, premenopausal women with no colposcopic abnormality. In addition, endometrial sampling was recommended in the peri- and postmenopausal women.

Conclusion Borderline glandular cells have a high incidence of clinically significant lesions. Immediate referral for colposcopy and assessment is strongly recommended in women with two borderline glandular smears to avoid delays in potential cancer diagnosis.