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Objectives: Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC-US) represent a diagnostic challenge during cervical cytology. This study aimed to review and identify high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) genotypes among previously diagnosed ASC-US cases in Kuwait. Methods: This retrospective study analysed 180 cases diagnosed as ASC-US between June 2017 and May 2018 at the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital, Kuwait. Cervical specimens were assayed to determine the presence of HR-HPV DNA; subsequently, positive cases underwent genotyping and were categorised into three groups (HPV 16, HPV 18/45 and other HR-HPV types). Results: In total, ASC-US was confirmed in only 105 cases (58.3%), with the remaining cases reclassified as negative for intraepithelial lesions or malignancy (NILM; 32.2%) and epithelial cell abnormalities (ECA; 9.4%). Of these, HRHPV DNA was present in 20 ASC-US (19%), one NILM (1.7%) and six ECA (35.3%) cases. There were 62 Kuwaiti and 43 non-Kuwaiti women with confirmed ASC-US; of these, three (4.8%), six (9.7%) and four (6.5%) Kuwaitis and one (2.3%), one (2.3%) and five (11.6%) non-Kuwaitis had HPV 16, both HPV 16 and 18/45 and other HRHPV genotypes, respectively. Of those with HR-HPV DNA, the NILM case had the HPV 18/45 genotype, while the six ECA cases had the HPV 16 (n = 1), both HPV 16 and 18/45 (n = 1) and other HR-HPV (n = 4) genotypes. Conclusion: Overall, HR-HPV DNA was present in 19% of ASC-US cases compared to 1.7% of NILM cases initially misdiagnosed as ASC-US. Re-review of cervical cytology diagnoses may reduce unnecessary costs associated with HR-HPV genotyping.

Keywords: Cervical Smears; Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance; Human Papilloma Virus; Cytological Techniques; Papanicolaou Test; Kuwait.

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Kapila, K., Balakrishnan, M., Ali, R. H., Al-Juwaiser, A., George, S. S., & Mallik, M. K. (2020). Interpreting a Diagnosis of Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance in Cervical Cytology and its Association with Human Papillomavirus: A retrospective analysis of 180 cases in Kuwait. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, 20(4), e318–323.