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J Fam Pract. 1994 Nov;39(5):457-60.

Naked-eye inspection of the cervix after acetic acid application may improve the predictive value of negative cytologic screening.

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  • 1Student Health Center, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California 95521.



The purpose of this study was to assess the predictive value of naked-eye inspection of the cervix (NIC) after acetic acid application as an adjunct to Papanicolaou (Pap) testing for cervical cancer screening.


Study subjects were women attending a medical college student health clinic either for cervical cytologic screening (67%) or because of a recent atypical cytologic screening result (33%). All study participants received cytologic screening, cervicography, and NIC.


Of the 95 patients, 71 (75%) had abnormal findings on NIC. Fifty-one patients underwent colposcopy with biopsy, including 48 of the 71 with an abnormal finding on NIC. The results of 40 of the biopsies were abnormal: 36 showed human papillomavirus or low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, 3 showed high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, and 1 showed invasive cervical cancer. Sixty-five percent (26) of the abnormal biopsy findings occurred in women with normal cytologic test results. NIC and cervicography both were effective in identifying patients with abnormalities, but the combination of NIC followed by cervicography referred fewer women for colposcopy than did a positive result on NIC alone (52% vs 75%). The combination of a negative Pap smear and a negative NIC result had a 91% predictive value for the absence of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. This was a significant improvement over cytologic screening alone.


In this study, the combination of cytologic screening (Pap smear) and NIC increased the screening yield as compared with a Pap smear alone but with some loss of positive predictive value. NIC significantly improved the predictive value of negative cytologic screening results.

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