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Light micrograph of a biopsy section through the human cervix revealing carcinoma-in-situ (severe dysplasia, CIN 3). The cervix is lined by a stratified squamous epithelium. Normally, all cell division is confined to the basal epithelial layer (bottom). As a cell matures & rises up the layers, its cytoplasm expands & nucleus shrinks in size - a normal superficial cell is flat, with a small nucleus & a large cytoplasm. In carcinoma-in-situ the gradual stratification in cell maturation seen in normal epithelium is absent: dysplastic (abnormal) cells, some in process of dividing, extend throughout the entire epithelium. The basement membrane remains defined & intact.
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