Glandular Cells In Ureteral Washing

Unusual Lesions

Size limits of this volume preclude a complete description of the various uncommon lesions of the urinary tract. The interested reader is referred to the classic texts of Koss, and other books relative to urinary cytology.

Lesions Arising in the Bladder

Squamous carcinoma and adenocarcinoma are infrequent cancers in the bladder, but have the same characteristics as those lesions elsewhere in the body (Figs. 5.1-5.3). The microscopist should resist the temptation to call a urothelial lesion "squamous" or "glandular" when areas of squamous or glandular metaplasia are encountered in an otherwise clear-cut urothelial carcinoma. The treatment is much more aggressive for the non-urothelial lesions.

Lesions Arising in the Kidney

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) rarely sheds into the urine, and then only at a late stage, so that urinary cytology is not an appropriate screening test for that lesion. While the cells of renal cell carcinoma are classically described as having very prominent nucleoli, they are not always so. Deceptively small and inconspicuous nucleoli are often present in cells of well-differentiated RCC and can be very misleading. Clinical setting and suspicion are of great assistance in reaching an accurate diagnosis. Fine needle aspiration is the preferred approach to lesions of the renal parenchyma. However, cells from cystic renal cell carcinoma can mimic macrophages expected in a benign renal cyst. Ploidy studies and immunochemistry can be very helpful when sufficient material is aspirated.

Metastases to the Urinary Tract

Metastatic lesions to the urinary bladder and into ureters must be considered when history is consistent or when an unexpected cell population is found. Rectum, uterus, vagina, and prostate are contiguous and may be sources of direct spread (Figs. 5.4-5.6). Voided urines from women with occult gynecologic lesions may contain diagnostic cells in the urine (Figs. 5.7-5.11). Therefore, any woman presenting with "hematuria" should be catheterized to avoid vaginal contamination and to localize the source of bleeding. Drop metastases into the pouch of Douglas, or onto the dome of the bladder occur from distant sites. A complete and accurate history obviously is necessary to include such lesions in the differential diagnosis (Tables 8 and 9).

Table 8. Differential Diagnosis of Glandular Cells in Urine

Normal glandular epithelium Cystitis Cystica Gynecologic

-Menstrual endometrium -Endometriosis -Normal endocervical cells -Malignancies Retrograde ejaculation Prostate, benign and malignant Adenocarcinoma -Bladder

-Metastatic to the bladder

Table 9. Differential Diagnosis of Squamous Cells in Urine

Normal squamous epithelium Squamous metaplasia (usually trigonal) -Post inflammation -Post therapy Vaginal contamination (voided urine) Well-differentiated squamous carcinoma Skin

Images Elongated Sqamous Cell
Figure 5.1. Squamous Carcinoma—bladder washing: Malignant squamous cells are admixed with degenerated debris, crystals, acute inflammation and blood. The malignant cells have an elongated appearance, and the cytoplasm is keratinized. (600x)
Normal Cell And Acute Inflammation

Figure 5.2. Squamous Carcinoma—bladder washing: In some squamous cell carcinomas, the cells have a very bland appearance, and only slight nuclear enlargement and mild nuclear hyperchromasia are evident. In some cases the cells exhibit dysplastic features rather than features of an invasive squamous cell carcinoma. (600x)

Figure 5.2. Squamous Carcinoma—bladder washing: In some squamous cell carcinomas, the cells have a very bland appearance, and only slight nuclear enlargement and mild nuclear hyperchromasia are evident. In some cases the cells exhibit dysplastic features rather than features of an invasive squamous cell carcinoma. (600x)

Urethral Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Figure 5.3. Squamous Carcinoma—bladder washing: The malignant cells exhibit only a slightly increased nuclear to cytoplasmic ratio. The cells in this case show mild nuclear hyperchromasia and nuclear membrane irregularities. (600x)
Ureter Washing

Figure 5.4. Endometriosis—ureteral washing: Unexpected cells warrant careful gathering of clinical information. This sample was obtained from the ureter of a 36 year old woman who suffered from intermittent obstruction of her ureter, coincident with her menstrual cycles. (400x)

Ureter 400x

Figure 5.5. Carcinoma of the Prostatic Duct—urethral brush: Bladder outlet obstruction prompted brushing of the trigone area of an older gentleman. Sheets of uniformly large cells with dramatically round and central nuclei were confusing, as they were obviously malignant and yet were not consistent with a urothelial lesion. (400x)

Figure 5.5. Carcinoma of the Prostatic Duct—urethral brush: Bladder outlet obstruction prompted brushing of the trigone area of an older gentleman. Sheets of uniformly large cells with dramatically round and central nuclei were confusing, as they were obviously malignant and yet were not consistent with a urothelial lesion. (400x)

Prostatic Duct
Figure 5.6. Carcinoma of the Prostatic Duct—urethral biopsy: The cy-tologic features in the biopsy are identical to those in the brushing of the lesion, rendering it a high grade classification. (H&E, 400x)
Urothelial Cells Urine
Figure 5.7. Carcinoma of the ovary—voided urine: In a urine contaminated with vaginal epithelial cells, rare groups of glandular cells were recovered. Although they could have arisen from the uterus, their large size and absence of accompanying blood urged us to get additional history. (600x)
Atypical Glandular Cells Cervix
Figure 5.8. Carcinoma of the ovary—voided urine: Another glandular group from the same sample as 5.7. Their 3-dimensional quality is evidenced by the different focal plane of the cells in the background. (600x)
Urothelial Cells Urine

Figure 5.9. Carcinoma of the ovary—cervical smear: Several weeks prior to the patient's urine collection (Figs. 5.7,5.8), a Pap test was interpreted as "Atypical glandular cells, favor a neoplasm". These groups of cells appear too large to be from either the cervix or uterus, but are clearly neoplastic and of glandular origin. (600x)

Figure 5.9. Carcinoma of the ovary—cervical smear: Several weeks prior to the patient's urine collection (Figs. 5.7,5.8), a Pap test was interpreted as "Atypical glandular cells, favor a neoplasm". These groups of cells appear too large to be from either the cervix or uterus, but are clearly neoplastic and of glandular origin. (600x)

Atypical Glandular Cells CervixPap Smear Urothelial Cell
Figure 5.11. Carcinoma of the ovary—resection of tumor: Cellular features of this patient's ovarian carcinoma reveals its high grade. Immuno-histochemical phenotyping placed the tumor in a serous category, but its cytologic features include prominent vacuolization. (H&E, 400x)

Suggested Reading

Koss LG: Diagnostic Cytology and Its Histopathologic Bases, 4th edition.

JB Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1992. Koss LG: Diagnostic Cytology of the Urinary Tract. JB Lippincott,

Philadelphia, 1995. Murphy WM, Crabtree WN, Jukkola AF, and Soloway MS: The diagnostic value of urine versus bladder washing in patients with bladder cancer. J Urol 1981; 126:320-322. Rosenthal DL: Urologic Cytology in Practical Cytopathology. RW Astarita, ed., Churchill Livingstone, New York, NY, 1990, pp. 303-336. Wiener HG, Vooijs GP, and van't Hof-Grootenboer B: Accuracy of urinary cytology in the diagnosis of primary and recurrent bladder cancer. Acta Cytol 1993; 37(2): 163-169.

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Responses

  • nicoletta
    What cells are in ureteral washing cytology?
    1 year ago
  • Selina
    Are there glandular cells in bladder washings?
    5 months ago

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