Undifferentiated carcinoma (UC) is a rare, aggressive subtype of endometrial carcinoma. Dedifferentiated carcinomas (DCs) are UCs associated with a component of well differentiated endometrioid carcinoma. The authors sought to describe the morphologic features of UCs and DCs in cytologic specimens.
Cytologic specimens from 23 women (aged 46-86 years; median age, 59 years) were reviewed, including cervicovaginal specimens (n = 7), peritoneal washings (n = 5), touch preparations of core biopsies from various sites (n = 5), fine-needle biopsies of lymph nodes (n = 3), ascitic fluid (n = 1), pleural fluid (n = 1), and intrauterine fluid (n = 1).
There were 10 UCs (43%) and 13 DCs (57%). Tumor cells were arranged as single cells (9 UCs, 90%; 12 DCs, 92%) and 3-dimensional groups (8 UCs, 80%; 11 DCs, 85%). Most cases showed high nuclear-to-cytoplasmic ratios. Nuclear molding was observed in 3 UCs (30%) and in 5 DCs (38%). Nuclear chromatin was often coarsely granular 6 UCs, 60%; 9 DCs, 69%). Nucleoli were inconspicuous in some cases (6 UCs, 60%; 8 DCs, 62%) but were appreciable in others. Necrosis was observed in 5 UCs (50%) and in 5 DCs (38%). Most cases exhibited clean backgrounds, and a few showed acute inflammation. Comparison of the cytologic features of UCs and DCs did not reveal any statistically significant differences.
UCs and DCs have a spectrum of cytomorphologic appearances that are not pathognomonic, but the presence of some of these (relatively uniform population of predominantly singly dispersed cells with high nuclear-to-cytoplasmic ratios and variably conspicuous nucleoli) should prompt consideration of UC and DC in the differential diagnosis.