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Keywords:

  • Atypical glandular cell;
  • cervical cancer;
  • ovarian cancer;
  • Papanicolaou smear;
  • uterine cancer

Please cite this paper as: Cheng W-F, Chen Y-L, You S-L, Chen C-J, Chen Y-C, Hsieh C-Y, Chen C-A. Risk of gynaecological malignancies in cytologically atypical glandular cells: follow-up study of a nationwide screening population. BJOG 2011;118:34–41.

Objective  To investigate the relationship between screening status, clinical characteristics and risk of gynaecological malignancies in women with a cytological diagnosis of atypical glandular cells (AGC).

Design  Prospective study of a screened population.

Population  Case series from nationwide screening population.

Methods  The 8281 women who were diagnosed with cytological AGC for the first time were divided into screened (5386 women) and unscreened (2895 cases) groups according to their screening status. Follow-up histological reports were analysed.

Main outcome measures  Diagnosis of cervical, uterine, or ovarian cancers.

Results  Of the 323 women who developed gynaecological malignancies, 271 had invasive cervical cancers, 40 had uterine cancers and 12 had ovarian cancers, with a mean follow up of 1.9 years and 50 740 person-years. Previous screening status was a strong risk predictor of gynaecological malignancies (hazard ratio 1.69, = 0.0027). Compared with the general screening population, women with a first diagnosis of cytological AGC had significantly increased ratios of developing gynaecological malignancies (17.85-fold for cervical cancer, 5.68-fold for uterine cancer, and 2.04-fold for ovarian cancer, < 0.05). When compared with women aged <35 years, those in other age groups had a significantly higher risk of developing gynaecological cancers (age ≥60 years, hazard ratio 1.99, 95% CI 1.20–2.37, = 0.016).

Conclusions  Comprehensive evaluation for women with cytological AGC, including pelvic examination, ultrasonography, colposcopy, endocervical curettage, cervical biopsy and endometrial biopsy needs to be considered, especially for those with risk factors (i.e. >60 years old, lower educational status, previous Papanicolaou smear interval longer than 2 years, or no previous Papanicolaou smear).