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Cytopathology. 2003 Oct;14(5):263-8.

Interlaboratory reproducibility of atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance report: a national survey.

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  • 1Analytical and Biomolecular Cytology Unit, Centro per lo Studio e la Prevenzione Oncologica, Florence, Italy.


The study was aimed at assessing interlaboratory reproducibility in the reporting of cervical smears in the atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) category. A set of 50 selected slides circulated among 89 laboratories, currently involved in population-based screening programmes for cervical cancer, which provided a diagnostic report according to four main reporting categories based on the 1991 Bethesda system. Interlaboratory agreement was determined according to kappa (K) statistics: overall and weighted K values were determined for each laboratory and for single reporting categories. The results showed a very low reproducibility for the ASCUS category. This finding supports the Bethesda system 1991 recommendation to limit the use of this reporting category and suggests that the clinical response to ASCUS reports should be decided locally, based on the observed positive predictive value for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 or more severe lesions.

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