October 28, 2009
The liquid-based cytology test ThinPrep now represents 70 percent of the U.S. cervical cancer screening market, but a new report finds it no more effective than the conventional Pap smear at detecting precancerous cells.
In the study, 89,784 Dutch women were randomized to be screened either with ThinPrep or a conventional Pap smear. After evaluating the data, the authors concluded that "liquid-based cytology does not perform better than conventional Pap tests in terms of relative sensitivity and [positive predictive value] for detection of cervical cancer precursors."
Pap smear testing has been in use since the 1940s, while ThinPrep received U.S. approval in 1996. The main difference between the two tests is how the cells are prepared for evaluation. The Food and Drug Administration has allowed ThinPrep's maker, Hologic, to promote the test as being more effective at revealing early and more advanced abnormalities in the cervix.
10.28.2009; Rita Rubin
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