Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jan;111(1):167-77. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000296488.85807.b3.

Liquid compared with conventional cervical cytology: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

  • 1Scientific Institute of Public Health, Brussels, Belgium.



To compare test performance characteristics of conventional Pap tests and liquid-based cervical cytology samples.


Eligible studies, published between 1991 and 2007, were retrieved through PubMed/EmBase searching and completed by consultation of other sources.


Studies were selected if a conventional and a liquid-based sample were prepared from the same woman or when one or the other type of sample was taken from a separate but similar cohort. The current systematic review and meta-analysis is restricted to studies where all subjects were submitted to gold standard verification, based on colposcopy and histology of colposcopy-targeted biopsies, allowing computation of absolute and relative test validity for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or worse. Randomized trials were selected as well if all test-positive cases were verified with the same gold standard, allowing computation of the relative sensitivity. Impact of study characteristics on accuracy was assessed by subgroup meta-analyses, meta-regression, and summary receiver operating characteristic curve regression.


The relative sensitivity, pooled from eight studies, with complete gold standard verification and from one randomized clinical trial, did not differ significantly from unity. Also, the specificity, considering high-grade and low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions as cutoff, was similar in conventional and liquid cytology. However, a lower pooled specificity was found for liquid-based cytology when presence of atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance was the cutoff (ratio 0.91, 95% confidence interval 0.84-0.98). Differences in study characteristics did not explain interstudy heterogeneity.


Liquid-based cervical cytology is neither more sensitive nor more specific for detection of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia compared with the conventional Pap test.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center