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Normal cells / non-neoplastic findings

Small blue cells

Reviewer: Farnaz Hasteh, M.D., UCSD Medical Center (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 5 March 2011, last major update March 2011
Copyright: (c) 2006-2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Associated with tamoxifen therapy (present in 40% of Pap smears of patients with tamoxifen therapy) and atrophy
● Not associated with malignancy
● May represent reserve cells of cervical/vaginal epithelium (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2001; 125:1047)

Micro description

● Tight clusters of undifferentiated small cells with minimal cytoplasm or naked nuclei, round to oval nuclei, bland chromatin, indistinct nucleoli

Cytology images

Dark, tightly cohesive clusters

Differential diagnosis

Endometrial cells: irregular nuclear contours, degenerative appearance, coarse chromatin
Endometrial carcinoma: larger cells, hyperchromatic nuclei with coarse chromatin and distinct nucleoli
Carcinoid tumor
Small cell carcinoma
Adenoid cystic carcinoma
Adenoid basal carcinoma
Lobular breast carcinoma: large plasmacytoid cells with irregular nuclear membrane, coarse chromatin, prominent nucleoli, clinical history

End of Cervix-cytology > Normal cells / non-neoplastic findings > Small blue cells

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