Glassy cell carcinoma

Author: Branko Perunovic, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 3 May 2017, last major update May 2007

Copyright: (c) 2003-2017, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Glassy cell carcinoma cervix

Cite this page: Cervix - Glassy cell carcinoma. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/cervixglassycell.html. Accessed October 19th, 2017.
Definition / general
  • Distinct type of poorly differentiated adenosquamous carcinoma
  • 1 - 2% of cervical carcinomas
  • Younger age group (mean 41 years), associated with pregnancy, HPV 18 and 16
  • Historically considered more aggressive with poorer prognosis than ordinary adenosquamous carcinoma or adenocarcinoma (APMIS Suppl 1991;23:119), although recent studies show less or no difference (Am J Obstet Gynecol 2004;190:67)
  • May have peripheral blood eosinophilia
  • Cytokeratin expression is similar to that of reserve cells or immature squamous cells of cervix (Int J Gynecol Pathol 2002;21:134)
  • Poor prognostic factors: angiolymphatic invasion, deep stromal invasion, large tumor size
Case reports
Gross images

Images hosted on PathOut server:

Bulky exophytic mass

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Solid nests of markedly pleomorphic, polygonal tumor cells with prominent cell membrane, glassy and eosinophilic cytoplasm, large eosinophilic nuclei, prominent nucleoli, surrounded by heavy inflammatory infiltrate containing eosinophils
  • Frequent mitotic figures
  • Pure cases have no histologic evidence of glandular or squamous differentiation (i.e. no intracellular bridges, no dyskeratosis, no intracellular glycogen), which is detectable only by EM
  • Often less invasion than is suspected
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on PathOut server:

Sheets of cells with abundant
lightly stained cytoplasm

Cells have distinct cell border
and prominent nucleoli

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Positive stains
Negative stains
Electron microscopy description
  • Glassy features may be due to cytoplasmic polyribosomes, abundant tonofilaments and abundant dilated rough endoplasmic reticulum (Am J Clin Pathol 1991;96:520)
  • Adenosquamous features include well developed desmosomal complexes and microvilli
  • Occasional intracellular lumina (Cancer 1983;51:2255)
Differential diagnosis
Additional references