Glassy cell carcinoma

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

Revised: 18 April 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 April 27th, 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

Bulky exophytic mass

Micro 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
Micro Images

Various images

Sheets of cells with abundant lightly stained cytoplasm

Cells have distinct cell border and prominent nucleoli

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