Comparative evaluation of test characteristics of acetic acid, lugol’s iodine and toluidine blue stains in cervical cancer screening

Ankita Kumari, Neha Singh, Shaila Mitra, Reena Srivastav


Background: Cervical cancer rank second in female cancer and India alone account for one fourth of the global cervical cancer burden. The study was aimed to evaluate the diagnostic efficacy of acetic acid (3%), lugol’s iodine and toluidine blue (1%) in detection of abnormal cervical lesions.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur over a period of one year from July 2016 to June 2017. The study included 200 women in age group 20-60 years with signs and symptoms suspicious of abnormal cervical lesion. The cases were subjected to detailed history, clinical examination, Pap smear, Visual inspection test, colposcopy followed by cervical biopsy.

Results: Out of total 200 patients, 114 patients had acetowhite area on VIA (visual inspection with acetic acid) test, 113 were VILI (visual inspection with lugol’s iodine) positive and 107 women stained positive with Toluidine blue but only 88 showed biopsy proven pre-invasive and invasive lesions. So, sensitivity of acetic acid, lugol’s iodine and Toluidine blue was 81.8%, 84.09% and 90.9% respectively. Similarly, the specificity of the three stains were 62.5%, 65.17% and 75.8% respectively.

Conclusions: Toluidine blue (1%) has proved to be significantly more sensitive and specific stain as compared to acetic acid (3%) and lugol’s iodine (50% dilution) in diagnosing pre-invasive and invasive cervical cancer. Hence, it may aid as an important tool in screening and treating precancerous and cancerous lesions.


Abnormal cervical lesions, Colposcopy, Invasive cervical cancer, Precancerous lesions, Visual inspection test

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