Cervix - Cytology
Beign / nonneoplastic lesions

Author: Farnaz Hasteh, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 20 April 2017, last major update November 2010

Copyright: (c) 2006-2017, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed search: Cervix Cytology atrophy

Cite this page: Cytology Atrophy. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/cervixcytologyatrophy.html. Accessed October 23rd, 2017.
Definition / general
  • Increased number of basal and parabasal cells, associated with diagnosis of ASCUS
Clinical features
Prognostic factors
  • Estrogen will cause atypical atrophic cells to mature, but dysplastic cells will not respond (Cancer 1998;84:218)
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • No atypia in upper epithelial layers, no mitotic figures
Cytology description
  • Increased number of parabasal cells and basal cells, which form sheets and syncytial-like aggregates or hyperchromatic crowded groups
  • Naked nuclei (small cells) may be seen
  • Cells have high N/C ratio but uniform chromatin
  • Pseudokeratinized cells (pink to orangophilic cytoplasm) are due to degeneration
  • Severe atrophy can show dirty background with inflammation, debris, old blood, blue blobs and giant cells
  • In liquid based cytology, background of atrophic smear is cleaner
  • May resemble urothelial metaplasia, but cells have prominent intercellular bridges
  • Nuclei are uniform, evenly spaced, often elongated with grooves
Cytology images

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Contributed by:
Dr. Marilin Rosa,
University of Florida (USA)


Differential diagnosis