Introduction: Primary human papillomavirus (HPV) screening, testing for the virus responsible for 99% of cervical cancers, was introduced in 2018-2020 in the UK. This was preceded by HPV triage of low-grade cytology from 2012. Much of the evidence incorporated into current National Health Service (NHS) colposcopy guidance assessed outcomes prior to this change in screening. The aim of this paper is to assess adherence to NHS cervical screening programme standards, determine the incidence of cases reported as high-risk HPV plus borderline nuclear change in endocervical cells, to calculate colposcopic accuracy and assess histological outcomes in this cohort.
Method: A retrospective audit of women referred to a colposcopy clinic in one NHS trust from 2016 to 2018. Data relating to histological outcomes, cytological follow-up and demographics were collected.
Results: Of 2001 referrals, 22 data sets identifying HPV-positive borderline endocervical change were eligible for analysis (1.2% incidence). Median age was 29.5. Two-thirds (68.2%, n = 15) had high-grade dysplasia at diagnostic biopsy. Those women with reassuring histology had normal cytological follow-up. Colposcopic accuracy was moderate (positive predictive value 43.8%, negative predictive value 100%).
Conclusions: Borderline nuclear change in endocervical cells is an uncommon condition but should be treated as a high-grade referral. All women should be offered a diagnostic biopsy at the initial colposcopy; if no histopathological abnormality is identified, alternative sources of pathology should be considered. Excisional treatment should be recommended to unreliable attenders, those with a complete family and inadequate colposcopy (TZ3) and considered in younger women with a TZ3.
- clinical significance
- endocervical cells