BackgroundHigh-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) testing is more sensitive than cytology for the detection of cervical cancer and its precursors. However, limited and inconsistent data are available about the efficacy of the combination of these two methods for screening cervical adenocarcinoma. This multicenter retrospective study investigated the screening results of a cohort of Chinese patients who were subsequently diagnosed with invasive cervical adenocarcinoma, with the goal of identifying the optimal cervical adenocarcinoma screening method.MethodsWe retrospectively retrieved and analyzed the data from patients with histologically confirmed primary invasive cervical adenocarcinoma from eight local pathology laboratories operated by KingMed Diagnostics, the largest independent operator of pathology laboratories in China, over a 2-year period. Only patients who underwent cytology and/or HR-HPV testing within 6 months before the adenocarcinoma diagnosis were included. HR-HPV DNA was detected using one of two HPV test kits: the Hybrid Capture 2 (HC2) assay (Qiagen, Hilden, Germany) and an HPV genotyping panel (Yaneng Bio, Shenzhen, China).ResultsOf the 311 patients, 136 underwent cytology alone, 106 underwent HR-HPV testing alone, and 69 underwent cytology and HR-HPV co-testing. The sensitivities of cytology alone (64.0, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 55.9–72.0) and HR-HPV testing alone (66.0, 95% CI: 57.0–75.1) were similar (P = 0.738). The sensitivity of cytology and HR-HPV co-testing (87.0, 95% CI: 79.0–94.9) was significantly higher than that of either cytology (P = 0.001) or HR-HPV testing alone (P = 0.002).ConclusionsBoth cytology alone and HR-HPV testing alone showed poor screening efficiency, whereas the combination of the two clearly increased the efficiency of primary cervical adenocarcinoma screening. Thus, cytology and HR-HPV co-testing might be the most efficient cervical adenocarcinoma screening method.