Accuracy of outpatient endometrial biopsy in the diagnosis of endometrial cancer: a systematic quantitative review

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OBJECTIVE: To determine the accuracy of outpatient endometrial biopsy in diagnosing endometrial cancer in women with abnormal uterine bleeding. DESIGN: A systematic quantitative review of published research. METHODS: Studies were selected if accuracy of outpatient endometrial biopsy was estimated compared with a reference standard. Diagnostic accuracy was determined by pooled likelihood ratios for positive and negative test results. There were 1013 subjects in 13 diagnostic evaluations reported in 11 primary studies. RESULTS: A positive test result on outpatient biopsy diagnosed endometrial cancer with a pooled likelihood ratio of 66.48 (95% CI 30.04-147.13) while a negative test result had a pooled likelihood ratio of 0.14 (95% CI 0.08-0.27). The post test probability of endometrial cancer was 81.7% (95% CI 59.7%-92.9%) for a positive test and 0.9% (95% CI 0.4%-2.4%) for a negative test. CONCLUSION: Outpatient endometrial biopsy has a high overall accuracy in diagnosing endometrial cancer when an adequate specimen is obtained. A positive test result is more accurate for ruling in disease than a negative test result is for ruling it out. Therefore, in cases of abnormal uterine bleeding where symptoms persist despite negative biopsy, further evaluation will be warranted.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2002