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Comparative study of four candidate strategies to detect cervical cancer in different health care settings


Considering the differing but potentially supplementary properties of visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid (VIA) and the cytological examination (CYTO) of cervical smears for the screening of cervical cancers, we examined the performance of these two tests and their combinations for the screening of cervical cancer in different health care settings. METHODS: In this cross-sectional diagnostic test performance evaluation study of 4235 female subjects in the reproductive age group, we assessed the screening performance of four strategies: VIA alone, CYTO alone, VIA and CYTO combined in a parallel fashion, and VIA and CYTO combined in tandem. Subjects were recruited from three settings: Hospital, Urban Community and Rural Community. Colposcopy was used as the reference standard. Screening performance was assessed using sensitivity, specificity, post-test probabilities and likelihood ratios (LR), diagnostic odds, area under receiver operating characteristic curve and LR chi(2). RESULTS: Both VIA and CYTO when used alone had a low sensitivity but high specificity, especially in the Rural Community setting. A combination of the results of VIA and CYTO improved the diagnostic accuracy but the strategy using a parallel combination of VIA and CYTO was the most accurate. In general, all screening strategies using VIA and CYTO showed a modest screening performance. CONCLUSIONS: In the settings of varying levels of health care and low resources, caution is needed for a generalized use of VIA for cervical cancer screening. Further evaluation of the cost-effective ways of combining VIA and CYTO is needed in these circumstances.
J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2007;33:480-9.

By: Kamal MM, Sapkal RU, Sarodey CS, Munshi MM, Alsi YD, Chande MA, Hingway SR, Dandige S, Kane US, Kshirsagar R, Tangsale M, Zodpey S, Patel AB, Mamtani M, Kulkarni H

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