Value of cervical cytology in diagnosing endometrial carcinoma in women with postmenopausal bleeding

Helena C. Van Doorn, Brent C. Opmeer, G. Sjarlot Kooi, Patrica C. Ewing-Graham, Roy F.P.M. Kruitwagen, Ben W.J. Mol

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess the accuracy of the cervical smear in the diagnosis of endometrial cancer in women with postmenopausal bleeding, with an emphasis on the diagnostic relevance of normal endometrial cells. Study Design: Women presenting with abnormal postmenopausal bleeding, not using hormone replacement therapy, were included prospectively. Cervical cytology was coded according to both the Papanicolaou (Pap) classification and the Dutch coding system (CISOE-A), which classifies endometrial and other cell types separately. For both classification systems, likelihood ratios (LR) for the presence of (pre) malignancy of the endometrium were calculated. Results: We included 543 women with postmenopausal bleeding. A (pre) cancerous endometrial lesion was present in 64 women (11.7%). A Pap III increased the probability of (pre) malignancy (LR 3.5), whereas Pap IV and Pap V virtually proved the presence of carcinoma. The CISOE-A classification showed similar results. The presence of normal endometrial cells did not increase the probability of endometrial (pre) malignancy. Conclusion: Adding the results of the cervical smear to endometrial thickness could detect incidental endometrial cancers that are missed by transvaginal sonography (< 5 mm). In women with postmenopausal bleeding the presence of normal endometrial cells is not predictive of endometrial cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • CISOE-A classification
  • Cervical smears
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Postmenopausal bleeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology

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