• cervical screening;
  • glandular neoplasia;
  • endometrial carcinoma;
  • atypical endometrial cells;
  • liquid-based cytology;
  • TBS terminology;
  • NHSCSP terminology

Introduction:  Conventional Pap smears (CPS) have little impact on the detection of endometrial carcinoma. Although liquid-based cytology (LBC) is replacing CPS in the UK, experience with identification of endometrial cancers with this technique is limited.

Aim:  To compare the accuracy of the SurePath LBC with that of CPS for detection of endometrial cancers.

Methods:  Our study group comprised SurePath LBC samples reported as atypical endometrial cells and endometrial adenocarcinoma (classified respectively as borderline, code 8 and ?glandular neoplasia, code 6 for the NHS Cervical Screening Programme statistics) in 2004–2005. CPS reported as atypical endometrial cells or adenocarcinoma in 1993–1998 comprised the control group. Histological follow-up was obtained.

Results:  Endometrial abnormalities were reported in 95 (0.073%) of 130 352 LBC samples, comprising 75 (0.058%) atypical endometrial cells and 20 (0.015%) endometrial adenocarcinoma reports. Of 409 495 CPS, 117 (0.029%) were diagnosed as endometrial abnormalities, comprising 59 (0.014%) atypical endometrial cells and 58 (0.014%) endometrial adenocarcinoma reports. Thus, the endometrial adenocarcinoma reporting rate was similar in both groups, but that for atypical endometrial cells was higher with LBC (< 0.001). The positive predictive value for endometrial cancer of endometrial adenocarcinoma and atypical endometrial cell reports in the LBC group was 73.3 and 18.8%, respectively, compared with 42.3 and 6.7% in the CPS group. The endometrial adenocarcinoma patients in CPS group were older (mean age 62.5 years versus 56.5 years) and most (22/25) were symptomatic, whereas most (13/17) patients in the LBC group were asymptomatic at the time of sampling (< 0.001).

Conclusion:  SurePath LBC is at least as accurate a method for detecting endometrial cancer as CPS. SurePath LBC demonstrates enhanced identification of endometrial pathology in asymptomatic women in the cervical screening programme.