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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Nov;203(5):481.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.06.048. Epub 2010 Aug 30.

Detection of cervical cancer and its precursors by endocervical curettage in 13,115 colposcopically guided biopsy examinations.

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  • 1Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, 6120 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20892, USA.



Endocervical curettage (ECC) specimens obtained during colposcopy can detect cervical cancer and precursors otherwise missed by biopsy alone, but the procedure can be painful and reduce compliance with needed follow-up. ECC is routinely performed in the Calgary Health Region colposcopy clinics, permitting a look at its real-world utility.


We analyzed pathology and colposcopy reports from 2003 to 2007. We calculated the added diagnostic utility of ECC compared with cervical biopsy alone.


ECC increased the diagnostic yield of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or worse (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia [CIN]2+) in 1.01% of 13,115 colposcopically guided biopsy examinations. Therefore, 99 ECC specimens were taken to detect 1 additional CIN2+. ECC detected 5.4% of 2443 CIN2+ subjects otherwise missed by biopsy alone. Utility was greatest among women aged 46 years or older referred after a high-grade cytology.


ECC is rarely informative when used routinely in colposcopic practice. Older women referred after high-risk cytology benefit most from ECC.

Published by Mosby, Inc.

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