Objective To compare the cumulative incidence of cervical cancer diagnosed within 72 months after a normal screening sample between conventional cytology and liquid based cytology tests SurePath and ThinPrep.
Design Retrospective population based cohort study.
Setting Nationwide network and registry of histo- and cytopathology in the Netherlands (PALGA), January 2000 to March 2013.
Population Women with 5 924 474 normal screening samples (23 833 123 person years).
Exposure Use of SurePath or ThinPrep versus conventional cytology as screening test.
Main outcome measure 72 month cumulative incidence of invasive cervical cancer after a normal screening sample for each screening test. Cox regression analyses assessed the hazard ratios, adjusted for calendar time, age, screening history, and socioeconomic status and including laboratories as random effects.
Results The 72 month cumulative cancer incidence was 58.5 (95% confidence interval 54.6 to 62.7) per 100 000 normal conventional cytology samples, compared with 66.8 (56.7 to 78.7) for ThinPrep and 44.6 (37.8 to 52.6) for SurePath. Compared with conventional cytology, the hazard of invasive cancer was 19% lower (hazard ratio 0.81, 95% confidence interval 0.66 to 0.99) for SurePath, mainly caused by a 27% lower hazard (0.73, 0.57 to 0.93) of a clinically detected cancer. For ThinPrep, the hazard was on average 15% higher (hazard ratio 1.15, 0.95 to 1.38), mainly caused by a 56% higher hazard of a screen detected cancer (1.56, 1.17 to 2.08).
Conclusions These findings should provoke reconsideration of the assumed similarity in sensitivity to detect progressive cervical intraepithelial neoplasia between different types of liquid based cytology and conventional cytology.