Anticancer research

Influence of acetic acid on a pap smear of dysplastic lesion.

PMID 23482790


Cervical cancer prevention is performed by taking Pap smears. The correct execution of the smear is crucial as an inadequate smear might result in underdiagnosis. The second means of cervical cancer prevention is visual inspection of the cervix uteri with acetic acid, while often both methods are combined. We investigated whether the application of acetic acid compromises the Pap smear. A total of 100 patients with dysplasia were prospectively included; Pap smears were obtained before and after the application of acetic acid. We observed an alteration of the result of the Pap smear after acetic acid application in 41%. However, these alterations did not result in a dysplastic case being classed as a normal smear or vice versa. The application of acetic acid to the transformation zone of the cervix uteri may enhance changes of the Pap smear in dysplasia, however, the changes affect subgroups of dysplasia and thus do not change therapeutic management.