Outcomes in Women With Cytology Showing Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance With vs Without Human Papillomavirus Testing

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Abstract

Importance

Little is known about the long-term yield of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and the influence on biopsy and treatment rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) triage of cytology showing atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (hereafter ASC-US cytology).

Objective

To examine 5-year outcomes after ASC-US cytology with vs without HPV testing.

Design, Setting, and Participants

In this observational study, all cervical cytology and HPV testing reports from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2012, were obtained for women throughout New Mexico and linked to pathology reports. The dates of the analysis were May 4, 2015, to January 13, 2017.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Influence of HPV testing on disease yield, time to histologically confirmed disease, and biopsy or loop electrosurgical excision procedure rates.

Results

A total of 457 317 women (mean [SD] age, 39.8 [12.5] years) with a screening test were recorded between 2008 and 2012, and 20 677 (4.5%) of the first cytology results per woman were reported as ASC-US. CIN grade 3 or more severe (CIN3+) lesions were detected in 2.49% of women with HPV testing vs 2.15% of women without HPV testing (P = .23). Time to CIN3+ detection was much shorter in those with HPV testing vs those without testing (median, 103 vs 393 days; P < .001). CIN grade 1 was detected in 11.6% of women with HPV testing vs 6.6% without testing (relative risk, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.56-2.00; P < .001). Loop electrosurgical excision procedure rates within 5 years were 20.0% higher in those who underwent HPV testing, resulting in more CIN2+ and CIN3+ detection.

Conclusions and Relevance

Human papillomavirus testing led to faster and more complete diagnosis of cervical disease, but 55.8% more biopsies and 20.0% more loop electrosurgical excision procedures were performed. In those tested, virtually all high-grade disease occurred in the 43.1% of women who were HPV positive, allowing clinical resources to be focused on women who need them most. These data provide essential information for cervical screening guidelines and public health policy.

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