Cervical cytology biobanking in Europe

Int J Biol Markers. 2010 Jul-Sep;25(3):117-25. doi: 10.1177/172460081002500301.


A cervical cytology biobank (CCB) is an extension of current cytopathology laboratory practice consisting in the systematic storage of Pap smears or liquid-based cytology samples from women participating in cervical cancer screening with the explicit purpose to facilitate future scientific research and quality audit of preventive services. A CCB should use an internationally agreed uniform cytology terminology, be integrated in a national or regional screening registry, and be linked to other registries (histology, cancer, vaccination). Legal and ethical principles concerning personal integrity and data safety must be respected strictly. Biobank-based studies require approval of ethical review boards. A CCB is an almost inexhaustible resource for fundamental and applied biological research. In particular, it can contribute to answering questions on the natural history of HPV infection and HPV-induced lesions and cancers, screening effectiveness, exploration of new biomarkers, and surveillance of the short- and long-term effects of the introduction of HPV vaccination. To understand the limitations of CCB, more studies are needed on the quality of samples in relation to sample type, storage procedures, and duration of storage.

MeSH terms

  • Alphapapillomavirus / isolation & purification
  • Alphapapillomavirus / pathogenicity
  • Biological Specimen Banks* / ethics
  • Biological Specimen Banks* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Biological Specimen Banks* / organization & administration
  • Biological Specimen Banks* / standards
  • Cervix Uteri / cytology*
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Medical Record Linkage
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / methods
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / standards
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / pathology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • RNA / isolation & purification
  • Registries
  • Specimen Handling / standards
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology
  • Uterine Cervicitis / pathology
  • Uterine Cervicitis / virology
  • Vaginal Smears*


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • RNA
  • DNA