PAP smear Vs. Liquid-based cytology as a screening method for cervical carcinoma

A recent study compared conventional PAP smears (CPS) and liquid-based cytology (LBC) for cervical carcinoma screening at a tertiary care hospital. It included 265 women aged between 20 to 65 years who presented with complaints related to cervical lesions and unhealthy cervix. 

It applied the CPS and LBC methods for screening cervical carcinoma and compared their findings with histopathological findings to find out sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for both techniques.

The study found-

  • The mean age of the women as 45.4±6.8 years. 
  • White discharge per vagina as the commonest presenting complaint noted in 12 (46.8%) patients. 
  • More cases with satisfactory smears in LBC than in CPS. 
  • Sensitivity of CPS and LBC for detecting low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) as 71.8% and 87.2%, respectively.
  • Sensitivity of CPS and LBC for detecting high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) as 61.9% and 76.2%, respectively. 
  • Specificity of CPS and LBC for detecting LSIL as 97.9% and 98.7%, respectively.
  • Specificity of CPS and LBC for detecting HSIL as 98.7% and 99.2%, respectively.

This study found LBC to be better than conventional CPS in terms of smear adequacy and identification of LSIL and HSIL.

Khakwani M, Parveen R, Azhar M. Comparison of PAP smear and liquid based cytology as a screening method for cervical carcinoma. Pak J Med Sci. 2022 Sep-Oct;38(7):1827-1831. doi: 10.12669/pjms.38.7.5742. PMID: 36246719; PMCID: PMC9532633.

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