Benign glandular and squamous metaplastic-like cells seen in vaginal Pap smears of post hysterectomy patients: incidence and patient profile

Eur J Gynaecol Oncol. 2000;21(1):43-8.


We have observed benign glandular cells and squamous metaplastic-like cells in vaginal Pap smears of post hysterectomy patients (PHP). Vaginal Pap smears from 1,547 PHP were retrieved. In 2% of these smears (Group A) glandular cells were observed, with the majority of the smears revealing squamous metaplastic-like cells (47%). Mucinous endocervical columnar-like cells were seen in 9% of the cases, glandular cells not resembling endocervical cells in 13%, and a combination of the former two categories in 31%. Group A patients were compared with other PHP without these cells in their vaginal smears (Group B). Several clinical and surgical parameters were evaluated. A distinctive clinical profile was not identified for either group of patients (A or B). Of patients in group A 49.8% had a history of a previous gynecologic malignancy (Group B: 19%). Based on our study, we postulate that in the absence of a clinically identifiable source of these cells, the most likely source of origin is probably vaginal adenosis not associated with DES exposure in utero or a metaplastic phenomenon perhaps related to therapy. These cells do not seem to be related to imminent neoplasia or dysplasia.

MeSH terms

  • Epithelial Cells / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy*
  • Incidence
  • Metaplasia
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vagina / cytology*
  • Vagina / pathology*
  • Vaginal Smears*