Tao brush endometrial cytology is a sensitive diagnostic tool for cancer and hyperplasia among women presenting to clinic with abnormal uterine bleeding

Stephanie R. DeJong, Jamie N. Bakkum-Gamez, Amy C. Clayton, Michael R. Henry, Gary L. Keeney, Jun Zhang, Trynda N. Kroneman, Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, Lisa J. Ahlberg, Ann L. VanOosten, Amy L. Weaver, Nicolas Wentzensen, Sarah E. Kerr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Abnormal uterine bleeding requires the investigation of the endometrium. Histology is typically used but there remains room for the improvement and use of cytology. Methods: Women presenting for clinically indicated office endometrial biopsy were prospectively enrolled. Tao endometrial brushing and office endometrial biopsy were performed, and surgical procedure if clinically indicated. Tao brush cytology specimens were blindly reviewed by up to three pathologists, consensus obtained, and scored as: benign, atypical (favor benign), suspicious, positive for malignancy, or non-diagnostic. Cytology and histology were compared to surgical pathology to determine sensitivity, specificity, positive, and negative predictive values to detect AH (atypical hyperplasia) or EC (endometrial cancer). Results: Clinical indications of 197 enrolled patients included postmenopausal bleeding (90, 45.7%), abnormal uterine bleeding (94, 47.7%), and abnormal endometrium on ultrasound without bleeding (13, 6.6%). Of the 197 patients, 185 (93.9%) had cytology score consensus and a total of 196 (99.5%) had consensus regarding cytology positivity. Surgical pathology diagnoses (N = 85) were 13 (15.3%) FIGO grade 1 or 2 EC, 3 (3.5%) AH, and 69 (81.2%) benign endometrium. Sensitivity and specificity to detect EC or AH were 93.7% and 100%, respectively, via endometrial biopsy; 87.5% and 63.8%, respectively, via endometrial cytology when scores of malignancy, suspicious, or atypical were considered positive. Conclusions: In a high-risk population, Tao brush endometrial cytology showed high sensitivity to detect AH and EC comparable to biopsy histology when considering scores of malignancy, suspicious, atypical, and non-diagnostic. Revisiting the potential value of endometrial cytology in the contemporary era of endometrial diagnostic workup is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7040-7047
Number of pages8
JournalCancer medicine
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Tao brush
  • endometrial biopsy
  • endometrial cancer
  • endometrial cytology
  • endometrial hyperplasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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