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What is the best method of detecting endometrial cancer in outpatients?-endometrial sampling, suction curettage, endometrial cytology


Dr E. Kondo, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mie University School of Medicine, 2-174 Edobashi, Tsu, Mie 514-8507, Japan.
Tel.: +81 59 232 1111; Fax: +81 59 231 5202;


Objective:  Office methods of endometrial sampling for outpatients with abnormal uterine bleeding should be minimally invasive. The purpose of this study was to determine the best method for detecting endometrial cancer in an outpatients setting.

Methods:  In all, 114 symptomatic women who were suspected of having endometrial disease by their local gynaecologist were enrolled in this study. After pelvic examination and transvaginal ultrasonography, endometrial cytology, suction endometrial curettage, and four-site endometrial biopsy were performed, in this order without anaesthesia in each patient. After endometrial sampling, the patient was asked to comment on the intensity of any pain experienced during each procedure. Then the final histological diagnosis made from the surgical materials was compared with the results of the three pre-operative methods.

Results:  Among the 114 consecutive patients, 56 had endometrial carcinoma, three had carcinosarcoma, six had endometrial hyperplasia, and 49 had benign conditions. The sensitivity of detecting malignancy was 88% (52/59) with endometrial cytology, 92% (54/59) with suction curettage, and 88% (52/59) with four-site biopsy. When endometrial cytology was combined with suction curettage, the sensitivity of detecting malignancy was increased from 92% to 98%, whereas the sensitivity was increased from 88% to 97%, when endometrial cytology was added to four-site biopsy. Suction curettage was significantly less painful than four-site biopsy.

Conclusion:  Our data indicated that suction curettage plus endometrial cytology was the best combination for pathological examination of outpatients with abnormal uterine bleeding.