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Br J Cancer. 2007 Apr 10;96(7):1107-11. Epub 2007 Mar 6.

MCM immunocytochemistry as a first line cervical screening test in developing countries: a prospective cohort study in a regional cancer centre in India.

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  • 11Department of Pathology, Kidwai Memorial Hospital Institute of Oncology, Bangalore, India.


Cervical screening is not available for the majority of women in resource-poor countries. An important factor is a lack of skilled operators necessary for high-throughput assessment of the Papanicolaou (Pap) test currently in use. We compared the efficacy of immunocytochemistry for minichromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins vs standard Pap testing at detecting disease in 455 cervical smears processed in a typical Indian screening laboratory. Conventional (non-monolayer) smears were stained manually and then examined by a cytotechnologist and a cytopathologist. The MCM test was called positive when immunolabelled cells were identified as dyskaryotic by the Pap counterstain. The MCM test was read more quickly than the Pap test (approximately 2 vs 10 min) and there was 100% inter-observer agreement compared with 85% for Pap (P<0.0001). The MCM test detected 10 biopsy-proven cancers or pre-cancers that were not detected by Pap (P=0.002; P=0.016 excluding three cases where the Pap was deemed unsatisfactory on review). The cases in question included one recurrent squamous carcinoma and one adenocarcinoma in a screening patient who would have returned to 5 year recall. There were no false positive MCM test results. We propose that MCM immunocytochemistry has considerable advantages for cervical screening in developing countries like India.

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