Adverse obstetric outcomes after local treatment for cervical preinvasive and early invasive disease according to cone depth: systematic review and meta-analysis

BMJ. 2016 Jul 28;354:i3633. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i3633.


Objective: To assess the effect of treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) on obstetric outcomes and to correlate this with cone depth and comparison group used.

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: CENTRAL, Medline, Embase from 1948 to April 2016 were searched for studies assessing obstetric outcomes in women with or without previous local cervical treatment.

Data extraction and synthesis: Independent reviewers extracted the data and performed quality assessment using the Newcastle-Ottawa criteria. Studies were classified according to method and obstetric endpoint. Pooled risk ratios were calculated with a random effect model and inverse variance. Heterogeneity between studies was assessed with I(2) statistics.

Main outcome measures: Obstetric outcomes comprised preterm birth (including spontaneous and threatened), premature rupture of the membranes, chorioamnionitis, mode of delivery, length of labour, induction of delivery, oxytocin use, haemorrhage, analgesia, cervical cerclage, and cervical stenosis. Neonatal outcomes comprised low birth weight, admission to neonatal intensive care, stillbirth, APGAR scores, and perinatal mortality.

Results: 71 studies were included (6 338 982 participants: 65 082 treated/6 292 563 untreated). Treatment significantly increased the risk of overall (<37 weeks; 10.7% v 5.4%; relative risk 1.78, 95% confidence interval 1.60 to 1.98), severe (<32-34 weeks; 3.5% v 1.4%; 2.40, 1.92 to 2.99), and extreme (<28-30 weeks; 1.0% v 0.3%; 2.54, 1.77 to 3.63) preterm birth. Techniques removing or ablating more tissue were associated with worse outcomes. Relative risks for delivery at <37 weeks were 2.70 (2.14 to 3.40) for cold knife conisation, 2.11 (1.26 to 3.54) for laser conisation, 2.02 (1.60 to 2.55) for excision not otherwise specified, 1.56 (1.36 to 1.79) for large loop excision of the transformation zone, and 1.46 (1.27 to 1.66) for ablation not otherwise specified. Compared with no treatment, the risk of preterm birth was higher in women who had undergone more than one treatment (13.2% v 4.1%; 3.78, 2.65 to 5.39) and with increasing cone depth (≤10-12 mm; 7.1% v 3.4%; 1.54, 1.09 to 2.18; ≥10-12 mm: 9.8% v 3.4%, 1.93, 1.62 to 2.31; ≥15-17 mm: 10.1% v 3.4%; 2.77, 1.95 to 3.93; ≥20 mm: 10.2% v 3.4%; 4.91, 2.06 to 11.68). The choice of comparison group affected the magnitude of effect. This was higher for external comparators, followed by internal comparators, and ultimately women with disease who did not undergo treatment. In women with untreated CIN and in pregnancies before treatment, the risk of preterm birth was higher than the risk in the general population (5.9% v 5.6%; 1.24, 1.14 to 1.35). Spontaneous preterm birth, premature rupture of the membranes, chorioamnionitis, low birth weight, admission to neonatal intensive care, and perinatal mortality were also significantly increased after treatment. :

Conclusions: Women with CIN have a higher baseline risk for prematurity. Excisional and ablative treatment further increases that risk. The frequency and severity of adverse sequelae increases with increasing cone depth and is higher for excision than for ablation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology
  • Cervix Uteri / surgery
  • Conization / methods*
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / surgery*
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Premature Birth / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / surgery*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery*