OBJECTIVE: Human papillomavirus testing is a cost-effective strategy for the management of atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance. Young women have a high prevalence of transient human papillomavirus infections and low incidence high-grade cervical lesions, which may limit the usefulness of human papillomavirus testing in this cohort. We sought to estimate the usefulness of human papillomavirus testing for young women with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance. METHODS: A retrospective study of women with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance was undertaken. Reflex human papillomavirus results and pathologic follow-up were evaluated. Age-stratified rates of human papillomavirus positivity, rates of high-grade dysplasia, and sensitivity and specificity were estimated. RESULTS: A total of 1,290 women with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance cytology were identified. The rate of human papillomavirus positivity decreased with age from 55% for those aged 25 years or younger to 12% for women aged older than 50 years (P < .001). The cumulative rate of high-grade lesions increased with age; 12% for patients aged 25 years or younger compared with 24% for women aged older than 50 years (P = .05). A negative human papillomavirus test more effectively excluded high-grade disease in the young women. No high-grade lesions were detected in the human papillomavirus negative women aged 25 years or younger compared with 3.8% of those aged older than 50 years (P = .04). The sensitivity for detection of high-grade disease was higher in women aged younger than 25 years compared with those aged older than 50 years (100% compared with 50%), whereas specificity was lower (14% compared with 44%). CONCLUSION: Given the high prevalence of human papillomavirus and low occurrence of high-grade lesions in young women with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance, a human papillomavirus-based triage strategy will result in the referral of a large number of women for colposcopy and may limit its cost-effectiveness.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Obstetrics and gynecology|
|State||Published - Apr 1 2006|