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Tumori. 1993 Feb 28;79(1):22-5.

Testing cervicography and cervicoscopy as screening tests for cervical cancer.

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Centro per lo Studio e la Prevenzione Oncologica, Florence, Italy.



Suboptimal sensitivity is currently reported for Pap test in screening for cervical cancer. Colposcopy is known to be more sensitive than cytology but its use as a screening test is not possible due to costs and complexity. Screening by cervicography has been suggested as a compromise being less costly and feasible. The present study evaluates the feasibility of screening by cervicography and cervicoscopy (naked eye examination of the cervix after acetic acid lavage) on a consecutive screening series.


Cervicography and cervicoscopy were performed by the smear taker in subjects consecutively attending a screening clinic. Women with abnormal cytology (atypia or more severe lesion) and/or abnormal cervicography or cervicoscopy (acetowhite lesion) underwent colposcopic assessment. The three screening methods were compared according to positivity rate, CIN 2-3 detection rate and positive predictive value.


2105 consecutive subjects were screened. Positivity rate was 3.8%, 15.3% or 25.4% for cytology, cervicography or cervicoscopy, respectively, 486 of 555 women attended the assessment phase, 281 directed biopsies were performed and 8 CIN 2-3 lesions were detected. Cytology, cervicography and cervicoscopy, detected 5.5, or 7 of 8 CIN 2-3 lesions, respectively. The positive predictive value was 0% for cytologic atypia, 25% for cytologic SIL, 1.75% for cervicography and 2.05% for cervicoscopy. Detecting one CIN 2-3 lesion at cytology cost $5,543. The cost per each additional cytologically negative CIN 2-3 lesion detected at cervicography or cervicoscopy was $12,947 or $3,916, respectively.


The study confirms the limited sensitivity of cytology for CIN 2-3. The association of cervicography was not cost effective. Cervicoscopy was poorly specific but increased the detection rate of CIN 2-3 at relatively low costs. Cervicoscopy is worth further evaluation as a screening test.

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