A randomized trial of the sleeved cytobrush and the endocervical curette

Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Mar;101(3):426-30. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(02)02713-8.


Objective: To compare endocervical specimens obtained with the endocervical curette to those obtained with the sleeved cytobrush.

Methods: All nonpregnant women undergoing either cervical conization or hysterectomy were eligible for this randomized, split-sample trial. Both endocervical curette and cytobrush sampling were performed on all 62 participants before surgery, with randomization designating the order of the sampling procedures. A pathologist blinded to sampling order reviewed study specimens. The endocervical canals of the surgical specimens were evaluated against endocervical curette and brush samples. Odds ratios (ORs), relative risks (RRs), and risk differences were used to compare the sensitivity and specificity of each procedure in unmatched and matched analyses.

Results: There was a significantly higher rate of inadequate specimens in the endocervical curette group (22% versus 2% in the brush group; 95% confidence interval [CI] for the difference: 9%, 31%). Unmatched analysis showed the two tests to be comparable in terms of sensitivity and specificity. Whereas the specificities of both tests were high (100% for the endocervical curette, 88% for the brush; RR 1.13, 95% CI 1.00, 1.28), the sensitivities were poor (44% for the sleeved brush and 32% for the endocervical curette; RR 1.38, 95% CI 0.65, 2.94). Matched analysis showed the sleeved endocervical brush to be a more sensitive sampling method compared with the curette (OR 2.04, 95% CI 0.98, 4.22). Sparse data prevented a matched analysis on the specificity of the two tests.

Conclusion: Endocervical sampling with the sleeved cytobrush achieves similar sensitivity and specificity to that of traditional endocervical curettage. Given the much greater rate of inadequate specimens when using the endocervical curette, the sleeved cytobrush is a reasonable alternative to this technique.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cervix Uteri / cytology*
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology
  • Dilatation and Curettage / instrumentation*
  • Dilatation and Curettage / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Vaginal Smears / instrumentation*
  • Vaginal Smears / methods