Histology Can Reduce Cancer Risk After Abnormal Pap Smear

-- A. Agrawal, PhD

Monday, August 17, 2009

MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- In women with an abnormal Pap smear, histological assessment of low-grade abnormalities reduces the risk of developing invasive cervical cancer, according to a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Lena Silfverdal, M.D., from Umea University Hospital in Sweden, and colleagues reviewed the screening histories of 159 women with invasive cervical cancer and 258 controls, all of whom were less than 67 years old and had an abnormal Pap smear result up to 6.5 years before cancer diagnosis.

The researchers found that the risk of invasive cervical cancer was strongly reduced with histologic assessment of low-grade squamous abnormalities compared with repeated cytology (odds ratio, 0.46), greatly increased by delaying histologic assessment (odds ratio, 5.65), and greatly increased in the absence of any cytologic or histologic specimen after high-grade squamous atypia (odds ratio, 12.52).

"For adequate protection against invasive cervical cancer, further assessment with histology must be recommended also for women with low-grade squamous abnormalities," Silfverdal and colleagues conclude.

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