A Prospective Randomized Trial to Compare Safety, Acceptability and Efficacy of Thermal Ablation and Cryotherapy in a Screen and Treat Setting

Document Type: Research Articles


1 Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

2 International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.


Background: The prospective randomized study aimed to compare the safety, acceptability and efficacy of thermal ablation (TA) to that of cryotherapy in screen and treat setting. Methods: The participants were recruited prospectively in a community-based screening clinic in India. Women positive on visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) test and/or Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test were assessed for eligibility for ablative treatment. Total 286 eligible women were randomized to receive either cryotherapy (N=150) or TA (N=136) performed by health workers. Colposcopy and cervical biopsy were performed on all, prior to treatment. Post-treatment follow-up was after one year with colposcopy and biopsy. Results: Both the treatment methods had high acceptability. Significantly higher proportion of women treated by cryotherapy reported pain compared to women treated by TA, though intensity was mild in vast majority of them. Approximately 30% of women in both arms had histologic abnormalities, mainly CIN 1, and among those who attended follow-up 74.1% and 81.0% didn’t have any CIN after cryotherapy and TA respectively. Conclusion: TA is as acceptable and safe as cryotherapy in screen and treat setting. TA has the logistic advantages for the low-resourced settings as the machines are more portable, do not require costly refrigerant gas and battery-driven models are available. The cure rates for CIN 1+ lesions in our study were comparable between cryotherapy and TA.


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