Objective. To relate aspects of online colposcopic image assessment to the diagnosis of grades 2 and 3 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN 2+).
Methods: To simulate colposcopic assessment, we obtained digitized cervical images at enrollment after acetic acid application from 919 women referred for equivocal or minor cytologic abnormalities into the ASCUS-LSIL Triage Study. For each, 2 randomly assigned evaluators from a pool of 20 colposcopists assessed images using a standardized tool online. We calculated the accuracy of these assessments for predicting histologic CIN 2+ over the 2 years of study. For validation, a subset of online results was compared with same-day enrollment colposcopic assessments.
Results. Identifying any acetowhite lesion in images yielded high sensitivity: 93% of women with CIN 2+ had at least 1 acetowhite lesion. However, 74% of women without CIN 2+ also had acetowhitening, regardless of human papillomavirus status. The sensitivity for CIN 2+ of an online colpophotographic assessment of high-grade disease was 39%. The sensitivity for CIN 2+ of a high-grade diagnosis by Reid Index scoring was 30%, and individual Reid Index component scores had similar levels of sensitivity and specificity. The performance of online assessment was not meaningfully different from that of same-day enrollment colposcopy, suggesting that these approaches have similar utility.
Conclusions. Finding acetowhite lesions identifies women with CIN 2+, but using subtler colposcopic characteristics to grade lesions is insensitive. All acetowhite lesions should be assessed with biopsy to maximize sensitivity of colposcopic diagnosis with good specificity.