Artificial Intelligence-Based Cervical Cancer Screening on Images Taken during Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid: A Systematic Review

Diagnostics (Basel). 2023 Feb 22;13(5):836. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics13050836.


Visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) is one of the methods recommended by the World Health Organization for cervical cancer screening. VIA is simple and low-cost; it, however, presents high subjectivity. We conducted a systematic literature search in PubMed, Google Scholar and Scopus to identify automated algorithms for classifying images taken during VIA as negative (healthy/benign) or precancerous/cancerous. Of the 2608 studies identified, 11 met the inclusion criteria. The algorithm with the highest accuracy in each study was selected, and some of its key features were analyzed. Data analysis and comparison between the algorithms were conducted, in terms of sensitivity and specificity, ranging from 0.22 to 0.93 and 0.67 to 0.95, respectively. The quality and risk of each study were assessed following the QUADAS-2 guidelines. Artificial intelligence-based cervical cancer screening algorithms have the potential to become a key tool for supporting cervical cancer screening, especially in settings where there is a lack of healthcare infrastructure and trained personnel. The presented studies, however, assess their algorithms using small datasets of highly selected images, not reflecting whole screened populations. Large-scale testing in real conditions is required to assess the feasibility of integrating those algorithms in clinical settings.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; automatic screening; cervical cancer; visual inspection with acetic acid.

Publication types

  • Review