Cytologic features
Psammoma bodies

Topic Completed: 1 December 2010

Minor changes: 12 March 2020

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PubMed search: Psammoma bodies [title]

Farnaz Hasteh, M.D.
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Cite this page: Hasteh F. Psammoma bodies. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/cervixcytologypsammomabodies.html. Accessed January 22nd, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Microscopic laminated calcified structures which may be adjacent to normal or malignant cells
  • Produced by cross sectioning the tips of calcified papillary formations
Clinical features
  • Common finding on H&E in various benign and malignant lesions; also in Pap smears
  • Either single or in clusters
  • Usually associated with benign disorders (Diagn Cytopathol 2002;26:81, Cytojournal 2008 Apr 16;5:7)
  • Benign disorders associated with psammoma bodies include adhesions, benign ovarian tumors, cervical polyps, endometriosis, endosalpingiosis (J Reprod Med 2000; 45:526), fallopian tubal cells, IUD (J Reprod Med 1987; 32:147), oral contraceptives, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (DeMay: The Pap Test: Exfoliative Gynecologic Cytology; 2005)
  • Benign conditions often have a few associated bland glandular cells versus adherent malignant glandular cells in malignant disorders (Acta Cytol 1991; 35:81)
  • Malignant disorders associated with psammoma bodies include ovarian serous carcinoma and ovarian borderline tumors (Arch Pathol Lab Med 1988;112:564); also carcinomas of cervix, endometrium, fallopian tube, peritoneum (Acta Cytol 2010;54:311)
  • Recommended to investigate clinically to identify source, especially in women > 45 years, women with abnormal clinical exam, postmenopausal women or worrisome clinical history (Adv Anat Pathol 2004; 11:250)
    • Prognostic factors
      • Even a few atypical glandular cells are suggestive of malignancy, particularly in postmenopausal women (Gynecol Oncol 2006;103:238)
      Case reports
      Microscopic (histologic) images

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      With atypical cells

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