Endocervical polyps are the most common benign neoplasms of the cervix. Please note that the word neoplasm refers to a cancerous growth. They are focal hyperplastic (abnormal cell growth) protrusions of the endocervical folds, including the epithelium and substantia propria. They are most common in the fourth to sixth decades of life and usually are asymptomatic but may cause profuse leukorrhea or postcoital spotting. (blood after orgasm)
Grossly, they appear as typical polypoid structures protruding from the cervical os. At times, endometrial polyps protrude through the cervical os. They cannot be distinguished from endocervical polyps by gross appearance. Microscopically, a variety of histologic patterns are observed, including
(1) typical endocervical mucosal
(2) inflammatory (granulation tissue)
(6) mixed endocervical and endometrial
Treatment is removal, which can usually be accomplished by twisting the polyp with a dressing forceps if the pedicle is slender. Smaller polyps may be removed with punch biopsy forceps. Polyps with a thick stalk may require surgical removal.
Microglandular hyperplasia refers to a clinically polypoid growth measuring 1-2 cm. It occurs most often in women who are on oral contraceptive therapy or Depo-Provera and in pregnant or postpartum women. It reflects the influence of progesterone.
Microscopically, it consists of tightly packed glandular or tubular units, which vary in size, lined by a flattened-to-cuboidal epithelium with eosinophilic granular cytoplasm containing small quantities of mucin. Nuclei are uniform, and mitotic figures are rare. Squamous metaplasia and reserve cell hyperplasia are common. An atypical form of hyperplasia can be mistaken for clear cell carcinoma. Unlike clear cell carcinoma, it lacks stromal invasion, has scant mitotic activity, and lacks intracellular glycogen
Squamous papilloma is a benign solid tumor typically located on the ectocervix. It arises most commonly as a result of inflammation or trauma.
Grossly, the tumors are usually small, measuring 2-5 mm in diameter. Microscopically, the surface epithelium may show acanthosis, parakeratosis, and hyperkeratosis. The stroma has increased vascularity and a chronic inflammatory infiltrate. Treatment is removal. The squamous papilloma resembles a typical condyloma acuminatum but lacks the koilocytes microscopically.
Smooth muscle tumors (leiomyomas)
These benign neoplasms may originate in the cervix and account for approximately 8% of all uterine smooth muscle tumors. They are similar to tumors in the fundus. When located in the cervix, they usually are small, ie, 5-10 mm in diameter.
Symptoms depend on size and location. Microscopically, leiomyomas resemble the typical smooth muscle tumor found in the uterine corpus. Treatment is required only for those patients who are symptomatic. The cervical leiomyoma is usually part of the spectrum of uterine smooth muscle tumors.
Mesonephric duct remnants
When present, mesonephric duct remnants are typically located at the 3-o’clock and the 9-o’clock positions, deep within the cervical stroma. They usually are incidental findings and are present in approximately 15-20% of serially sectioned cervices. As the name implies, mesonephric duct remnants are vestiges of the mesonephric or Wolffian duct. Usually, they are only a few millimeters in diameter and seldom are grossly visible.
Microscopically, they consist of a proliferation of small round tubules lined by epithelium that is cuboidal to low columnar. The tubules tend to cluster around a central duct. The cells lining the tubules contain no glycogen or mucin, but the center of the tubule may contain a pink material that contains glycogen or mucin.
When present in the cervix, endometriosis is usually an incidental finding. Grossly, it may appear as a bluish-red or bluish-black lesion, typically 1-3 mm in diameter. Microscopically, the implants are typical endometriosis, consisting of endometrial glands, endometrial stroma, and hemosiderin-laden macrophages. The implants usually gain access to the cervix during childbirth or previous surgery.
This neoplasm is uncommon. Grossly, it appears as a polypoid structure. Microscopically, the neoplasm contains branching clefts and papillary excrescences lined by mucinous epithelium with foci of squamous metaplasia. A compact, cellular, fibrous tissue composed of spindle-shaped and stellate fibroblasts supports the epithelium. The stroma is devoid of smooth muscle, and mitoses are rare. Similar growths occur in the endometrium and the fallopian tubes.
Heterologous tissue includes cartilage, glia, and skin with appendages. This type of tumor rarely occurs in the cervix. While they may arise de novo, these tumors probably represent implants of fetal tissue from a previous aborted pregnancy.
Hemangiomas in the cervix are rare in occurrence and are similar to those found elsewhere in the body.