The objective of this study was to compare the sensitivity of a new test method with the smear method for detection of neoplasia of the uterine cervix. The new procedure, the ThinPrep process, is an automated, fluid-based technique for the collection and preparation of exfoliated and aspirated cytologic specimens. A single sample from each patient was split and prepared both with the smear and test methods. The diagnostic results from the two slides were compared in this blind study. Among a total of 2,655 patients, diagnoses concurred in 92% of cases and were within one diagnostic level of each other 98% of the time. The ThinPrep method facilitated the detection of more low-grade lesions (P less than .001, McNemar's test). In addition, the test method decreased the number of ambiguous interpretations. The ThinPrep method appears to improve the cervical cytologic smear quality by the harvest of a random and reproducible sample, with a reduction in artifacts. The new method improves the sensitivity of the cervical cytologic screening test.