Significance of benign endometrial cells in Pap smears from postmenopausal women

H. H.J. Wu, M. J. Schuetz, H. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To assess the significance of benign exfoliated endometrial epithelial or stromal cells on cervicovaginal Pap smears obtained from postmenopausal women not receiving exogenous hormones. STUDY DESIGN: A computerized search of the cytology database at two institutions was performed for a five-year period, and all cervical cytology cases from postmenopausal patients diagnosed with benign endometrial cells were identified. Those cases with histologic follow-up within 12 months of the original cytologic evaluation were selected for analysis, and their cytology and surgical pathology slides were reviewed. RESULTS: A total of 227 postmenopausal women with benign endometrial cells were identified. Of the 61 patients with histologic follow-up, 25 (41%) had significant endometrial diseases, including hyperplasia without atypia (11), atypical endometrial hyperplasia (5), well-differentiated adenocarcinoma (8) and high grade serous carcinoma (1). Benign diagnoses, including atrophy (15), weakly proliferative endometrium (9) and proliferative endometrium (6), were noted in 30 patients (49%). Endometrial polyp was identified in three patients (5%). There were three cases of nondiagnostic histologic specimens that lacked endometrial tissue (5%). Two of nine women (22%) with proven carcinoma were asymptomatic. CONCLUSION: The diagnosis of endometrial cells, cytologically benign, in a postmenopausal woman not receiving hormone on Pap smears is associated with a significant number of cases of endometrial hyperplasia, atypical hyperplasia and carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-798
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine for the Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 14 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Endometrial neoplasms
  • Papanicolaou smear
  • Postmenopause

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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