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Developing a predictive nomogram for colposcopists: a retrospective, multicenter study of cervical precancer identification in China

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Peng Xue
  • Samuel Seery
  • Sumeng Wang
  • Yu Jiang
  • Youlin Qiao
Article number163
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>17/02/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>BMC Cancer
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background: Colposcopic examination with biopsy is the standard procedure for referrals with abnormal cervical cancer screening results; however, the decision to biopsy is controvertible. Having a predictive model may help to improve high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion or worse (HSIL+) predictions which could reduce unnecessary testing and protecting women from unnecessary harm. Methods: This retrospective multicenter study involved 5,854 patients identified through colposcopy databases. Cases were randomly assigned to a training set for development or to an internal validation set for performance assessment and comparability testing. Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) regression was used to reduce the number of candidate predictors and select statistically significant factors. Multivariable logistic regression was then used to establish a predictive model which generates risk scores for developing HSIL+. The predictive model is presented as a nomogram and was assessed for discriminability, and with calibration and decision curves. The model was externally validated with 472 consecutive patients and compared to 422 other patients from two additional hospitals. Results: The final predictive model included age, cytology results, human papillomavirus status, transformation zone types, colposcopic impressions, and size of lesion area. The model had good overall discrimination when predicting HSIL + risk, which was internally validated (Area Under the Curve [AUC] of 0.92 (95%CI 0.90–0.94)). External validation found an AUC of 0.91 (95%CI 0.88–0.94) across the consecutive sample, and 0.88 (95%CI 0.84–0.93) across the comparative sample. Calibration suggested good coherence between predicted and observed probabilities. Decision curve analysis also suggested this model would be clinically useful. Conclusion: We developed and validated a nomogram which incorporates multiple clinically relevant variables to better identify HSIL + cases during colposcopic examination. This model may help clinicians determining next steps and in particular, around the need to refer patients for colposcopy-guided biopsies.