Objective: To compare a new spiral-shaped tissue-sampling brush with a standard cervical punch biopsy.
Methods: Before large loop excision of the transformation zone, women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia underwent a transepithelial brush biopsy of a portion of a colposcopically identified lesion, followed by a punch biopsy of the remaining portion. Brush biopsy samples were processed using liquid-based cytology and cell block techniques. Diagnoses were made using a consensus of three pathologists. Brush biopsy samples without basal cells were considered inadequate. The histological diagnosis was compared with the brush biopsy and punch biopsy samples. Patient-reported pain and physician-reported bleeding for punch and brush biopsies were compared.
Results: Fifty-two women were enrolled in the study; 47 successfully completed the study protocol. Eight brush biopsy specimens were inadequate. Thirty-nine women showed abnormal pathology (human papillomavirus/cervical intraepithelial neoplasia I or worse) on large loop excision of the transformation zone, and 32 women had high-grade (or worse) lesions. The punch biopsy correlated with high-grade disease in 53.1% of these women. The brush biopsy result correlated with high-grade disease in 79.3% of these women using a cell block technique and 76.7% using liquid cytology. There was significantly less pain (P <.001) and significantly less bleeding (P <.001) with the brush biopsy.
Conclusion: When an adequate sample is collected, spiral brush biopsy is as good as a standard punch biopsy for detecting cervical pathology, with substantially less pain and bleeding. User training and guidelines for sampling are needed to assure that an adequate sample is collected.