Liquid-Based Cytology Found No Better Than Pap Smear

Study finds sensitivity and specificity same for cervical cancer precursor detection
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Liquid-based cytology has no better sensitivity or specificity than conventional cytology for detection of cervical cancer precursors, according to a study in the Oct. 28 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association.

Albertus G. Siebers, of Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a study of 89,784 women, aged 30 to 60 years, recruited from 246 family medical practices, of which 122 were randomized to use liquid-based cytology to screen 49,222 patients, while 124 practices used the conventional Pap test to screen 40,562 patients.

During 18 months of follow-up, the researchers found that the detection rate ratios, after adjusting for age, urbanization, study site and period, were 1.01 for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade 1+, 1.00 for CIN grade 2+, 1.05 for CIN grade 3+, and 1.69 for carcinoma, and the positive predictive value ratios were similar for both tests.

"It can plausibly be assumed that the prevalence of CIN was equal in both study groups," the authors write. "Therefore, the lack of difference in detection rate and positive predictive value in this trial demonstrates that liquid-based cytology is neither more sensitive nor more specific in detecting cervical cancer precursors than the conventional Pap smear."

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