Objective: Cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer-associated death in Indonesian women (30/100,000 annually), where no screening program is present. The Papanicolaou test is widely accepted as an effective screening method for cervical neoplasia detection and often shows certain cytological features associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Especially in developing countries, cytological investigation is still the method of choice as compared to the frequent use of HPV DNA testing in western countries. Study Design: In the present study, we investigated the validity of the use of cytomorphological changes as a marker for HPV infection. A total of 140 smears collected in three different areas in Indonesia (Jakarta, Tasikmalaya and Bali) were analyzed. HPV DNA testing was performed using INNO-LiPA assays. Results and Conclusions: We found a highly significant association of classical koilocytosis, multinucleated cells, dyskeratosis-parakeratosis, nuclear membrane, enlarged nuclei, moderate/strong hyperchromasia and chromatin pattern with HPV positivity. Using classical and nonclassical cytomorphological parameters we found an overall sensitivity of 42% and a specificity of 90%. The combination of classical and nonclassical parameters led to a higher sensitivity of HPV positivity prediction. These results are of importance for cytologists in developing countries as molecular HPV testing still poses a major financial, logistic and expertise problem.

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