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Normal cells / non-neoplastic findings

Tumor Diathesis

Reviewer: Farnaz Hasteh, M.D., UCSD Medical Center (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 6 March 2011, last major update March 2011
Copyright: (c) 2006-2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Blood and cellular debris associated with invasive tumors


● Tumor diathesis is associated with malignant tumor
● Benign diathesis is associated with infections


Tumor diathesis
● Due to invasive carcinoma, although in-situ lesions involving endocervical glands can cause necrosis (Diagn Cytopathol 2003;28:23)
● Keratinized and pleomorphic HSIL can also cause necrosis

Benign diathesis
● Due to Trichomonas or herpes infections, severe atrophy, cervical stenosis, abscess or history of radiation therapy

Clinical features

● Tumor diathesis is associated with invasive carcinoma; SIL or benign backgrounds are usually “clean”
● Often not present if less than 5 mm of minimally invasive squamous cell carcinoma (Acta Cytol 1997;41:781)
● Often not present in exophytic tumors
● Not seen in metastatic tumors
● For liquid based preparations (Thin-Prep and Sure-Prep), squamous cell carcinoma may have clinging diathesis (necrotic material at periphery of cell groups) or reduced cellularity (Diagn Cytopathol 2002; 26:1); if associated with malignant cells, it is diagnostic of malignancy

Cytology description

● Fresh or hemolyzed blood with necrotic cellular debris in background

Cytology images

Various images

Bloody background in endocervical adenocarcinoma

End of Cervix-cytology > Normal cells / non-neoplastic findings > Tumor Diathesis

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