Lack of agreement between cervicography and cytology and the effect of human papillomavirus infection and viral load

Nicolas F. Schlecht, Andrea Trevisan, Maria Luiza Baggio, Lenice Galan, Eliane Duarte-Franco, Mitchell D. Greenberg, Thomas E. Rohan, Alex Ferenczy, Luisa L. Villa, Eduardo L. Franco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. Cohort studies of the natural history of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions with repeated screening allow the comparison of different macroscopic and microscopic diagnostic methods. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Concurrent visual inspection using cervicography and conventional Pap cytology tests were performed during multiple visits in a cohort of women attending a maternal and child health clinic in São Paulo, Brazil. HPV infection status at the same visits was determined by polymerase chain reaction followed by typing with specific oligonucleotide probing and viral load quantification. Information on reproductive health and hygiene habits was also collected at each visit. RESULTS. Overall agreement between cervicography and cytology was low (κ = 0.046), which increased only slightly when high oncogenic-risk HPV types (κ = 0.120) or high viral burden (>100 copies/cell) (κ = 0.170) was present. Analysis of reproductive health and hygiene habits revealed somewhat different risk factors for cervical lesions detected by these tests. However, presence of oncogenic HPV DNA (odds ratio = 36.0, 95% CI = 16.6-77.8) and high viral burden (odds ratio = 67.34; 95% CI = 27.1-167.0) were strongly associated with lesions detected by cytology but not by cervicography. CONCLUSIONS. Although changes in the cervix (because of age, gravidity, or hormonal effects) may influence the performance of morphology-based screening tests, the lack of agreement and the different degrees of association with HPV infection measures indicate that a visual inspection method such as cervicography may detect different cervical abnormalities relative to cytology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of lower genital tract disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Cervical neoplasia
  • Cervicography
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Pap smear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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