Liquid-based cytology for cervical cancer screening

Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2005 Nov;5(6):857-71. doi: 10.1586/14737159.5.6.857.


In multiple studies during the last decade, liquid-based cytology for cervical cancer screening has been shown to increase the detection rate for preneoplastic squamous intraepithelial lesions equal to or greater than the conventional Papanicolaou (Pap) smear method. Liquid-based collection and processing provide more representative cervical sampling than conventional smearing of the specimen on a glass slide. Currently, there are two test methodologies that are widely marketed and available to clinical laboratories, health systems and clinicians that undertake cervical cytology. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the methodology and performance of SurePath Liquid-Based Pap Test in cervical cytology screening. The SurePath liquid-based Pap test significantly reduces the unsatisfactory rate of Pap test slides, and detects a significantly higher number of low- and high-grade squamous lesions when compared with the conventional Pap smear technique. Biopsy confirmation shows that this increased detection does not come at a cost of decreasing specificity, and sensitivity for histologic dysplasia is equal to or greater than the best available data for the conventional Pap method. The SurePath collection vial provides residual cellular material for adjunctive out-of-the-vial molecular testing, including sexually transmitted diseases and oncologic biomarkers associated with cervical carcinoma. Finally, SurePath slides can be placed on an automated cervical cytology screening device (FocalPoint), thus providing improved disease detection and enhanced laboratory productivity.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / instrumentation
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Papillomaviridae / physiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Vaginal Smears / economics
  • Vaginal Smears / instrumentation*
  • Vaginal Smears / methods*