Should endocervical curettage routinely be performed at the time of colposcopy? A cost-effectiveness analysis

Jonathan P. Shepherd, Richard Guido, Jerry L. Lowder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Endocervical curettage (ECC) has been used with colposcopy-directed biopsy to increase diagnostic sensitivity for detecting cellular abnormality. Our objective was to determine if routine ECC was cost-effective compared with colposcopy alone in women with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance or low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion cervical cytology, who are older and younger than 50 years. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We generated a cost-effectiveness model using outcomes from cervical screening including repeat Pap smears, colposcopy, and loop electrosurgical excision procedure. Cervical cancer costs, survival, as well as incidence and complications after loop electrosurgical excision procedure (preterm birth, cervical stenosis, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, and infertility) were modeled. Cost and probability values were obtained from published literature and Medicare databases. Direct medical costs were analyzed in 2011 US dollars. Effectiveness outcomes were cervical cancer deaths and incident cases of cancer prevented. Model robustness was evaluated using probabilistic sensitivity analysis. RESULTS: For women older than 50 years, routine ECC is the dominant strategy (less expensive and more effective at reducing cervical cancer deaths/incidence). For women younger than 50 years, routine ECC costs $96,737 more per cervical cancer death prevented. Cost per incident cancer case prevented ranged from $21,894 (local spread or greater) to $235,873 (distal spread). Sensitivity analysis confirmed these conclusions. In women older than 50 years, routine ECC was always the most likely cost-effective choice. In women younger than 50, routine ECC was most likely cost-effective for all willingness-to-pay thresholds greater than $80,000 to prevent 1 cancer death. CONCLUSIONS: In women older than 50 years, routine ECC is favored over colposcopy alone because this strategy is cost saving and reduces the number of cancer deaths and incident cancer cases. For women younger than 50 years, cost-effectiveness is dependent on willingness to pay to prevent 1 cancer death but still seems to be cost-effective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-108
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of lower genital tract disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • cervical cancer
  • colposcopy
  • cost-effectiveness analysis
  • endocervical curettage

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