Publication Abstract

Authors: Owens CL, Buist DS, Peterson D, Kamineni A, Weinmann S, Ross T, Williams AE, Stark A, Adams KF, Doubeni CA, Field TS

Title: Follow-up and clinical significance of unsatisfactory liquid-based Papanicolaou tests.

Journal: Cancer Cytopathol 123(1):59-65

Date: 2015 Jan

Abstract: BACKGROUND: To the authors' knowledge, few studies to date have examined adherence to recommended guidelines for follow-up and outcomes after an unsatisfactory Papanicolaou (Pap) test (UPT) with liquid-based technologies. METHODS: Within 4 US health plans, the median time to follow-up and the percentage of patients with follow-up testing by 120 days was calculated after a UPT. Multivariable analyses evaluated the association between clinical factors and follow-up testing. The authors compared the risk of a diagnosis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia of type 2 or worse (CIN2+) after a UPT with the risk after a satisfactory Pap test while controlling for study site, test year, and other covariates. RESULTS: A total of 634,644 Pap tests performed between 2004 and 2010 were included in the current study. Of 1442 UPTs, 53.4% had follow-up testing within 120 days; follow-up differed across the health plans (P<.001) and was found to be higher among patients aged <50 years (57.2% vs 48.8%; Pā€‰=ā€‰.01) and those with positive human papillomavirus (HPV) results (84.6% vs 53.9; P <.01). The risk of CIN2+ was similar for patients with both unsatisfactory and satisfactory Pap tests. However, after a UPT, the variables of age <50 years, having no previous history of Pap testing, having a history of a previous abnormal Pap test, and positive HPV status were all found to be risk factors for CIN2+; a positive HPV test was found to be the strongest risk factor for developing CIN2+. A negative HPV test result was protective for a CIN2+ diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: Various clinical factors associated with the risk of CIN2+ appear to influence the receipt of follow-up after a UPT. HPV test results in patients with UPTs might be used in follow-up strategies; specifically, a negative test result might reduce the urgency for repeat Pap testing.