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Evaluation of guidelines for observational management of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 in young women

Published:February 25, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2020.02.029

      Background

      A high rate of regression in young women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 has been recorded. However, there are few prospective data by which to evaluate management guidelines.

      Objective

      This study evaluates the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology recommendations for follow-up of young women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 using data created by a large prospective multicenter study of observational management.

      Materials and Methods

      Participants were 616 women under 25 years with biopsy-diagnosed cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 following a referral to colposcopy for an abnormal smear with no previous high-grade abnormality. The protocol included colposcopy, cytology, and colposcopically directed biopsy at the initial visit and at 6- and 12-month follow-ups visits, and these data were analyzed. Histology from the corresponding cervical biopsy was treated as the reference diagnostic test. For young women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2, we aimed to determine the following: (1) the ability of colposcopy to identify women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 3 or worse at 6 months; and (2) the ability of colposcopy, cytology, and a combination of cytology and colposcopy to identify residual high-grade abnormalities at 12 months. In addition, although not specified in the guidelines, we investigated the ability of high-risk human papillomavirus positivity alone or with cytology as a co-test to identify residual high-grade abnormalities at 12 months.

      Results

      At 6 months, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 3+ colposcopic appearance identified only 28% (95% confidence interval, 18−40%) of women diagnosed with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 3. At 12 months, a high-grade colposcopic appearance identified only 58% (95% confidence interval, 48−68%) of women with residual histological cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 or 3. At 12 months, high-grade cytology identified only 58% (95% confidence interval, 48−68%) of women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 or 3. However, the combination of either high-grade cytology or colposcopic appearance proved substantially more sensitive (81%; 95% confidence interval, 72−88%). High-risk human papillomavirus positivity at 12 months was a sensitive (96%; 95% confidence interval, 89−99%) indicator of persisting high-grade histology. However, this sensitivity came at the expense of specificity (52%; 95% confidence interval, 45−58%). A co-test of high-risk human papillomavirus positivity or high-grade cytology at 12 months provided a high sensitivity (97%; 95% confidence interval, 90−99%) but low specificity (51%; 95% confidence interval, 45%−58%).

      Conclusion

      Colposcopy and cytology are limited in their ability to exclude persistent high-grade abnormality for young women undergoing observational management for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2. We recommend biopsy for all women at 12 months. High-risk human papillomavirus positivity is a sensitive indicator of persistent abnormality and should be considered in those not having a biopsy.

      Key words

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