Objective: To evaluate the accuracy of fluorescence spectroscopy in screening for squamous intraepithelial lesions (SILs) and to compare its performance with that of Papanicolaou smear screening, colposcopy, cervicoscopy, cervicography, and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing.
Data sources: Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to analyze performance by fluorescence spectroscopy (primary data) and other methods (secondary data).
Methods of study selection: In our search, 275 articles were identified in MEDLINE (1966-1996). Articles were included if the investigators had studied a population in whom low disease prevalence was expected; used either Papanicolaou smear screening and colposcopy or colposcopically directed biopsy as a standard against which the screening technique was measured, and included enough data for recalculation of reported sensitivities and specificities.
Tabulation, integration, and results: Receiver operating characteristic curves for fluorescence spectroscopy were calculated using a Bayesian algorithm, and ROC curves for the other screening methods were constructed using metaanalytic techniques. Areas under the ROC curves and Q points were calculated. Screening colposcopy had the highest area under the curve (0.95), followed by screening cervicography (0.90), HPV testing (0.88), cervicoscopy (0.85), fluorescence spectroscopy (0.76), and Papanicolaou smear screening (0.70).
Conclusion: In terms of screening for SILs, fluorescence spectroscopy performed better than the standard technique, Papanicolaou smear screening, and less well than screening colposcopy, cervicography, HPV testing, and cervicoscopy. The promise of this research technique warrants further investigation.