Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cancer. 2005 Dec 25;105(6):457-60.

Should women with atypical squamous cells, cannot exclude high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion, receive reflex human papillomavirus-DNA testing?

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.



The 2001 American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology Consensus Guidelines recommend that women who have Papanicolaou (Pap) smears diagnosed as atypical squamous cells (ASC), cannot exclude high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) (ASC-H) should be referred for immediate colposcopic examination. The objective of this pilot study was to evaluate whether reflex human papillomavirus (HPV)-DNA testing performed on smears diagnosed as ASC-H may obviate the need for immediate colposcopic examination.


All ThinPrep Pap smears that were diagnosed as ASC-H or atypical squamous metaplastic cells (ASMT) between 2001-2003 and that had HPV-DNA testing and subsequent histologic and/or cytologic follow-up were evaluated. Those smears that were diagnosed as ASMT were reviewed and reclassified under the 2001 Bethesda System as either ASC of undetermined significance (ASCUS) or ASC-H. Smears that were diagnosed as ASCUS were excluded from the study.


The study included of 48 smears that were diagnosed as ASC-H. All patients with biopsy-proven HSIL had positive high-risk (HR)-HPV results (100% negative predictive value). Approximately 80% of patients with ASC-H who had biopsy-proven, low-grade intraepithelial lesion on follow-up had positive HR-HPV results. Among the patients who had ASC-H with negative follow-up, 50% had positive HR-HPV results, and 50% had negative HR-HPV results.


Among patients with ASC-H, a negative HR-HPV result was found to be an excellent predictor of the absence of HSIL. The results of this pilot study suggested that HPV-DNA testing may serve as a means to better select which patients with ASC-H on Pap smear should undergo colposcopic examination. This approach potentially may reduce medical costs and eliminate the need for routine colposcopic examination among patients with ASC-H Pap smears.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center