Comparison of ThinPrep and SurePath liquid-based cytology and subsequent human papillomavirus DNA testing in China

Cancer Cytopathol. 2011 Dec 25;119(6):387-94. doi: 10.1002/cncy.20177. Epub 2011 Jul 19.


Background: Liquid-based cytology (LBC) has been compared with conventional cytology in numerous studies. In the current study of 2 LBC systems, the accuracy, rates of unsatisfactory cytology, and sufficiency of residual LBC specimens for Hybrid Capture 2 (HC2) HPV DNA testing were compared.

Methods: Eligible women ages 30 to 49 years were recruited for this cross-sectional population-based study in rural China. Women were assessed by visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), LBC, and high-risk HPV HC2 DNA assay. Cervical specimens were preserved according to SurePath or ThinPrep protocols. LBC results were manually read. HC2 testing was performed on specimens with sufficient residual volume. Colposcopies and biopsies were performed on women who were VIA positive at the time of initial screening. Women with abnormal LBC or HC2 test results were called back for colposcopies and 4-quadrant cervical biopsies.

Results: Of 2005 eligible women, 972 were tested by SurePath and 1033 by ThinPrep. Compared with SurePath samples, ThinPrep samples had higher rates of unsatisfactory cytology (0.2% for SurePath and 1.5% for ThinPrep) and insufficient residual volume for HC2 (0.0% for SurePath and 18.2% for ThinPrep). SurePath samples yielded higher sensitivities and similar specificities for LBC and HC2 testing of residual specimens, but these differences were not determined to be significant by area-under-the-curve analysis (LBC performance: 0.89 for SurePath and 0.85 for ThinPrep; HC2 performance: 0.91 for SurePath and 0.89 for ThinPrep).

Conclusions: Both methods yielded similar validity in detecting significant cervical lesions. However, SurePath samples yielded higher rates of satisfactory LBC slides and sufficient residual volume for HC2.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • China
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cytodiagnosis / methods
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / pathology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / complications
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Vaginal Smears / methods*


  • DNA, Viral