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Cytomegalovirus infection of the cervix: morphological observations in five cases of a possibly under-recognised condition
  1. C E McGalie,
  2. H A McBride,
  3. W G McCluggage
  1. Department of Pathology, Royal Group of Hospitals Trust, Belfast BT12 6BL, Northern Ireland, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr W G McCluggage
 Department of Pathology, Royal Group of Hospitals Trust, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BL, Northern Ireland;


Aims: Histologically diagnosed cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection of the cervix is rare and the associated morphological features are not well described. This study describes histopathological findings in five biopsies from four patients with CMV cervicitis.

Methods: CMV inclusions were identified in five cervical biopsies from four patients in a single institution over eight months. The clinical notes were reviewed, the morphological features documented, and immunohistochemical staining for CMV performed. CMV immunohistochemical staining was also performed on 30 consecutive cervical biopsies in which inclusions were not seen histologically.

Results: None of the patients was immunocompromised but one was postnatal. Numbers of CMV inclusions ranged from occasional to abundant and they were located mainly in endocervical glandular epithelial cells but also in endothelial and mesenchymal cells. Inclusions were not seen in squamous cells. Inclusions were eosinophilic and were intracytoplasmic rather than intranuclear. They were positive immunohistochemically for CMV. Associated morphological features included fibrin thrombi within small blood vessels (three cases), dense active inflammatory infiltrates (five cases), lymphoid follicles (two cases), vacuolation of glandular epithelial cells (two cases), and reactive changes in glandular epithelial cells (two cases). CMV inclusions were not identified in the 30 additional cases that underwent immunohistochemical staining.

Conclusions: CMV infection of the cervix may be more common than is thought. Patients are usually immunocompetent and require no treatment. Morphological features such as a dense inflammatory cell infiltrate with lymphoid follicles, and especially fibrin thrombi within small vessels, should alert the pathologist to look closely for the pathognomonic CMV inclusion bodies.

  • CIN, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia
  • CMV, cytomegalovirus
  • LLETZ, large loop excision of the transformation zone
  • cervix
  • cytomegalovirus infection
  • morphology
  • immunohistochemistry

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