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Keywords:

  • cervical screening;
  • colposcopy;
  • cervical cytology;
  • dyskaryosis;
  • LLETZ;
  • CIN;
  • following outcome

Objective:  To assess the 4-year outcome of patients after one smear showing mild dyskaryosis with respect to smear regression rate, prevalence of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and the effect of age.

Methods:  Retrospective analysis of patients diagnosed with initial mildly dyskaryotic smear during the year 2000 with a follow-up period of 48 months. These women had not had any previous abnormal smears.

Settings:  Cytopathology Department and Colposcopy Unit, King’s College Hospital, London, UK.

Results:  We identified 524 patients of whom 375 patients with complete follow-up data are included. The age range was 19–67 years with a median of 29 years. There were 207 patients aged 35 years or less (55%). At 6 months, 258 smears were performed and 47.8% of them were negative (95% CI: 41.6–54.0%). The total number of negative follow-up smears in the first year was 198 out of a total of 397 smears performed (50%). This proportion has significantly increased between 1 and 4 years’ follow-up to 67.5% (RR: 1.24; 95% CI: 1.14–1.35). Over the 4-year period, 791 smears were performed and 477 were negative (60.3%; 95% CI: 56.9–63.7%). Of the 477 negative smears there were only 61 smears (12.8%; 95% CI: 10–16%), in 54 patients (14%; 95% CI: 11–18%) that reverted back to low-grade cytological abnormality. In only one case the repeat smear showed high-grade abnormality after initial negative follow-up; however, on biopsy, histology showed CIN I. Out of the 375 patients, 70 required treatment with excisional biopsy (19%; 95% CI: 15.0–22.9%). Histology confirmed high-grade CIN in only 41 cases giving a prevalence of 11% (95% CI: 8.1–14.5%). There were no cases of microinvasive or invasive cancer detected. Age (≤35 years versus >35 years) did not significantly affect either cytological or histological outcome.

Conclusion:  Sixty per cent of follow-up smears after initial mild dyskaryosis subsequently became negative; of them 87.2% remained negative over the 4 year follow-up. Treatment was only required in 19% of patients, with 11% prevalence of high-grade CIN. Age did not affect the outcome. These results are reassuring and indicate that colposcopic referral may not be necessary after only one mildly dyskaryotic smear.