Persistent inflammation on Pap smear: does it warrant evaluation?

Indian J Cancer. Apr-Jun 2011;48(2):220-2. doi: 10.4103/0019-509X.82901.

Abstract

Objective: Due to the low sensitivity of Pap smear, premalignant lesions of the cervix can be missed in women with inflammatory Pap smears. However, it is not practically possible to subject all women with inflammatory Pap smear to colposcopy. This study was carried out with the aim to evaluate whether women with persistent inflammation on Pap smear need further evaluation with colposcopy.

Materials and methods: Four hundred and twenty women were screened at a tertiary level hospital with Pap smear. Women with inflammation on Pap smear were given treatment as per WHO guidelines and Pap smear was repeated at an interval of 6-12 weeks. Women with persistent inflammation on Pap smear were then subjected to colposcopy and directed biopsy if required.

Results: Of the 420 women screened, 102 (24.3%) women had a Pap smear showing inflammation. Thirty six women (8.6%) had persistent inflammatory Pap smear. Thirty women were subjected to colposcopy and 16 (53.3%) had abnormal findings on colposcopy. Five out of these 30 women (16.67%) had Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) on biopsy.

Conclusions: Nearly 16.67% women with persistent inflammation on Pap smear had cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Hence, a large number of women with CIN would be missed if persistent inflammation on Pap smear is not evaluated further.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia / etiology*
  • Colposcopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications*
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Prognosis
  • Vaginal Smears / adverse effects*