The aim of the present cohort study was to assess the long-term (follow-up period up to 22 years) recurrence rate of preinvasive disease and the newly detected invasive disease rate in a cohort of women treated with excisional methods for high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN).
Women treated with large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ) and cold knife conization (CKC) for histologically proven high-grade CIN were followed up for up to 22 years. Surgical specimens underwent histological examination and the status of endocervical as well as ectocervical margins was recorded. Follow-up protocol included conventional Pap test, colposcopy and pelvic examination at 3, 6, and 12 months after the initial treatment, and every 12 months thereafter, provided that the results were normal. In case of high-grade cytological findings and/or atypical colposcopic impression, multiple punch biopsies were taken in order to verify or exclude recurrent disease.
In total, 804 women were followed for a mean time of 77.1 months (range: 6–266). LLETZ was used in 569 (70.7%) and CKC in 235 cases (29.2%). No woman developed invasive cervical cancer. Recurrent high-grade disease, developed in 9 women (1.1%, 95% confidence interval 0.5–2.2). Median treatment-to-recurrence time was 46.5 months (range: 6–235.3). One woman treated for squamous CIN2 on clear margins developed adenocarcinoma in situ 59.2 months post-treatment.
Women having undergone excisional treatment for high-grade CIN indicate a very low risk for recurrent disease and potentially negligible risk for invasive cancer, provided that a strict and vigorous follow-up is offered after treatment.