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March 17, 2010

Liquid-Based Cytology vs Conventional Cytology in Detecting Cervical Cancer—Reply

JAMA. 2010;303(11):1034-1035. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.278

In Reply: Dr Saraiya and colleagues interpret the comment in our Editorial to mean that, despite the findings in the study by Dr Siebers and colleagues,1 conventional cytology might decline further in market share. They suggest that this could negatively affect resource-limited programs such as the CDC cervical cancer early detection program.

We did not intend to suggest and certainly do not support a complete elimination of conventional cytology. We agree that the option to use the lower-cost conventional cytology instead of liquid-based cytology is valid and may even be preferable in some settings. If the 2 techniques are well performed, they are equivalent. Resource-limited programs and clinics may well decide to continue to use conventional cytology. Rather, our point was a pragmatic reflection that few practitioners and laboratories that now use liquid-based cytology will revert to conventional cytology on the basis of the findings of equivalent accuracy of the methodologies.