Journal of Cytology
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 41-44

Urothelial cells in smears from cervix uteri


1 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Clinical Hospital, Buenos Aires University, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2 Laboratory of Cytology, Diagnostic Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Correspondence Address:
Luis Alberto Palaoro
Avda Forest 1318 - 4 B (1427), C.A.B.A.
Argentina
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0970-9371.93220

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Objectives: To establish the cytological criteria to identify the urothelial cells in cervical smears in order to avoid mistakes in the cytological diagnosis. Materials and Methods: Cervical smears from 34 post menopausal women with vesicovaginal fistulas, advanced bladder prolapse and genital erosive lichen planes (vulvar kraurosis) (Group 1) and transitional cell metaplasia of the cervix (TCM, Group 2) were stained with Papanicolaou technique. The cervical samples were taken during the routine annual examination for prevention of the uterine cancer. Results: The smears of cervix from Group 1 showed urothelial cells from the three layers of the transitional epithelium. The umbrella cells are the bigger ones with relatively large nuclei. Frequently, they are multinucleated with single or multiple nucleoli and a typical "frothy" cytoplasm (cytoplasmic vacuoles). The cells of the Group 2 showed nuclei with oval to spindled shapes, some tapered ends, less cytoplasm than squamous metaplastic cells, powdery chromatin, small nucleoli and nuclear grooves. Conclusions: The umbrella cells may be mistaken for dysplastic cells originating in low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions lesions (LSILs) due to their nuclear and cytoplasm sizes. Therefore, it is important to know the possibility of their appearance in the cervical smears, especially in post menopausal patients in order to avoid a false diagnosis of an intraepithelial lesion. It is unlikely that deeper cells of urothelium would be confused with high grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) cells. However, their presence might be a reason of mistake in the diagnosis. TCM is an under-recognized metaplastic phenomenon of the cervix and vagina, which is a mimicker of high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. The differential characteristic between umbrella cells, cells from TCM and the deeper urothelial cells, and LSIL and HSIL are detailed in the present paper.


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