Atypical Papanicolaou smear in pregnancy

Clin Med Res. 2005 Feb;3(1):13-8. doi: 10.3121/cmr.3.1.13.


Atypical glandular cells (AGC) in Papanicolaou (Pap) smears can be associated with premalignant and malignant cervical and endometrial lesions. AGC is difficult to diagnose in pregnancy due to confusion with normal cellular changes that accompany graviditas. While guidelines have been established for management of AGC cases in the non-pregnant patient, special considerations are required when this is discovered during a pregnancy. A routine Pap smear performed on a 29-year-old woman being seen for a history of infertility yielded AGC and a high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. The patient achieved pregnancy 1 month later. Satisfactory colposcopic exam was performed with cytobrush sampling of the endocervical canal, in addition to 2 exocervical biopsies at 11 weeks gestation. Positive diagnosis of endocervical adenocarcinoma in situ resulted in a risk-informed decision to proceed with a cold knife conization of the cervix. Final pathology showed complete resection of the lesion with negative margins and an additional area of squamous dysplasia (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, grade II to III). Appropriate follow-up was recommended. AGC found upon Pap smear during a pregnancy can be associated with significant pathology for which an aggressive management approach is warranted.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Carcinoma in Situ / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / surgery
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / surgery
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery
  • Vaginal Smears*