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An electronic approach to the detection of pre-cancer and cancer of the uterine cervix: a preliminary evaluation of Polarprobe
  1. M. Coppleson*,
  2. B. L. Reid,
  3. V. N. Skladnev and
  4. J. C. Dalrymple*
  1. * Department of Gynecological Oncology, King George V Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, and
  2. Polartechnics Limited, Sydney, Australia
  1. Address for correspondence: Professor M. Coppleson, 187, Macquarie Street, Sydney, 2000 Australia.


We report on the testing of a prototype of an electronic device for the detection of cervix cancer and its precursors, known as the Polarprobe. The device monitors three aspects of the cervix tissue; two relate to optical properties and the other to dielectric characteristics. The response to tissue stimulation takes the form of an energy pattern which, in conjunction with spectroscopic discriminants, can be digitized to prepare an algorithm. The pattern algorithms are sufficiently characteristic to be afforded names which correspond to tissue states recognizable as normal or abnormal by the clinician. On a tissue observation basis the previously established recognition algorithms derived from 106 volunteers produced assessments which related strongly to colposcopy/histology diagnoses obtained on 77 additional volunteers. This concordance between colposcopy/histology and Polarprobe diagnoses on this primary analysis subgroup ranged from 85% on low-grade intraepithelial abnormalities, and 90% on high-grade cervical intraepithelial squamous neoplasia, to 99% on invasive cancer. An extrapolation of these results suggests false-positive/false-negative rates in the order of 10% are achievable with the current Polarprobe device.

  • cervical pre-cancer
  • cervix cancer screening
  • electronic detection device
  • Polarprobe.

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