Atypical immature metaplasia (AIM) of the cervix: Is it related to high- grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL)

Li Geng, Denise C. Connolly, Christina Isacson, Brigitte M. Ronnett, Kathleen R. Cho

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49 Scopus citations


Atypical immature metaplasia (AIM) is a poorly characterized cervical lesion with uncertain biological and clinical significance. AIM shares some, but not all, morphological features of squamous intraepithelial lesions (SILs). SILs are characterized by human papillomavirus (HPV) positivity and increased cellular proliferation, but these features have not been fully evaluated in AIM. Genomic DNA was extracted from 27 microdissected cervical biopsy specimens diagnosed as AIM. HPV DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), using two different sets of L1 gene consensus primers. HPV types were identified by sequence analysis of PCR products and comparison with published HPV sequences. The cell proliferation index was assessed by immunohistochemical staining for Ki-67 (MIB-1) antigen and expressed as the percentage of Ki-67-positive cells. Comparison groups included normal cervix (n = 10) and low-grade (LSILs, n = 19) and high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSILs, n = 11). Intermediate- or high-risk HPV DNA was detected in 67% (18 of 27) of AIM cases. Low-risk HPV DNA was not detected in any of the specimens. The Ki-67 index in AIM (mean, 33.0 ± 20.3; median, 29) was comparable to that of LSILs (mean, 21.4 ± 4.6; median, 21) and was significantly higher than that of normal cervix (mean, 11.0 ± 2.1; median, 11) (P < .01) and lower than that of HSILs (mean, 60.4 ± 13.2; median, 60) (P < .01). Of the cases with available follow-up, HPV-positive AIMs were significantly more likely to have a concurrent or subsequent diagnosis of typical HSIL (12 of 15, 80%) than HPV-negative AIMs (one of six, 45%) (P = .014). The wide range of Ki-67 indices and variable HPV status in AIM suggest that AIM represents a heterogeneous group of lesions including bona fide HSILs (high-risk HPV-positive, high Ki-67 index), antecedents (precursors?) of HSILs (high-risk HPV-positive, low to moderate Ki-67 index), and benign reactive conditions (HPV-negative, variable Ki-67 index). HPV testing may be useful in the assessment of atypical epithelial proliferations of the cervix for which a diagnosis of AIM is considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-351
Number of pages7
JournalHuman pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Atypical immature metaplasia
  • Dysplasia
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Ki-67
  • Squamous intraepithelial lesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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