Pseudocarcinomatous urothelial hyperplasia (PCUH) architecturally and cytologically mimics cancer. The urine cytology features of PCUH have not been described.


To describe PCUH features in urine cytology.


We reviewed urine cytology cases with concurrent PCUH tissue specimens from 5 academic institutions and classified them by using The Paris System criteria.


Thirty-nine patients included 31 men and 8 women with a mean age of 67 years (range, 39–87 years). All patients had prior pelvic irradiation, and most presented with hematuria (n = 27). The specimens included voided urine (n = 16); bladder washing (n = 11); and urine, not otherwise specified (n = 12). The specimen preparation included cytospin (n = 29) and ThinPrep (n = 10). Original interpretations were negative for high-grade urothelial carcinoma (n = 28), atypical urothelial cells (AUCs; n = 10), and high-grade urothelial carcinoma (HGUC; n = 1). Twenty-five urine specimens (64%) had findings of PCUH. These specimens were moderately cellular and composed of sheets, cohesive groups, or isolated urothelial cells. Nucleoli were present in 23 cases. The nuclear membrane was smooth to irregular (n = 9), smooth (n = 8), and irregular (n = 8). The chromatin was glassy (n = 8), vesicular (n = 7), hyperchromatic (n = 7), and vesicular to finely granular (n = 3). The cytoplasm varied from dense squamoid, to finely vacuolated, to vacuolated. Nucleomegaly was observed in all 25 specimens, and nuclear-cytoplasmic ratio greater than 0.5 was seen in 11 of 25 cases (44%). The background contained acute inflammation (n = 14), was clean (n = 9), and contained red blood cells (n = 2). All cases originally interpreted as AUCs and HGUC had PCUH features.


PCUH urine features can overlap with AUCs, HGUC, and other nonurothelial malignancies. In our cohort, 44% (11 of 25) of urine specimens with PCUH changes were initially misclassified. Recognition of cytologic features of PCUH is important to avoid overcalling reactive changes.

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Author notes

The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.