What sampling device is the most appropriate for vaginal vault cytology in gynaecological cancer follow up?
Background. In women with cancer-related hysterectomy, the vaginal vault cytology has a low efficacy - when performed by conventional methods - for the early detection of vaginal recurrence. The amount of exfoliated cells collected is generally low because of atrophy, and the vaginal vault corners can be so narrow that the commonly used Ayres spatula cannot often penetrate deeply into them. This prospective study aimed at identifying the advantages obtained in specimens collection using the cytobrush, as compared to the Ayres's spatula.
Patients and methods. 141 gynaecologic cancer patients were studied to compare samplings collected with Ayre's spatula or with cytobrush. In a pilot setting of 15 patients, vaginal cytology samples obtained by both Ayre's spatula and cytobrush were placed at the opposite sites of a single slide for quali-quantitative evaluation. Thereafter, the remaining 126 consecutive women were assigned to either group A (spatula) or B (cytobrush) according to the order of entry. The same gynaecologist performed all the procedures.
Results. In all 15 pilot cases, the cytobrush seemed to collect a higher quantity of material. The comparative analysis of the two complete groups indicated that the cytobrush technique was more effective than the spatula one. The odds ratio (OR) for an optimal cytology using the cytobrush was 2.8 (95% confidence interval -C. I. 1.3-6.2; chi-square test, p=0.008).
Conclusions. Vaginal vault cytology with cytobrush turned out to better perform than the traditional Ayre's spatula to obtain an adequate sampling in gynecological cancer patients.