New Probe Could Reduce Biopsies And Costs While Improving Colposcopic Performance

In short

UK device company Zilico Ltd. has been on our watch list for a while, with its clever Zedscan device, a probe which uses electrical impedance spectroscopy(EIS) to differentiate between pre-cancerous, cancerous and normal tissues. No doubt the company hopes its system could ultimately replace conventional colposcopy. To do so it needs favourable clinical studies like the one published just now in the proceedings of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (BJOG).


The study was established in order to investigate the accuracy of detection of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia using EIS with colposcopy. Investigators included the originator of the device and founder of Zilico, Professor John Tidy, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital Sheffield, Professor Henry Kitchener at St Mary’s Hospital Manchester and Professor Walter Prendiville at the Tallaght Hospital Dublin.

The study included 429 women with abnormal cytology at the three colposcopy clinics and was conducted in two phases. In phase 1, the researchers compared results of the hand-held EIS device to colposcopic impressions and histopathology. In phase 2, the clinicians used the EIS device to indicate sites for biopsy.

The abstract can be found here, and highlights include significant improvements in accuracy compared with colposcopy alone as well as specificity.

Investigator/Inventor comments

Professor Tidy said: “This trial demonstrates the considerable potential for EIS to improve colposcopic performance and builds on our previously published clinical studies. The data shows that EIS improves not only the identification of women with high grade Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), but also the identification of women who do not have high grade disease by increasing specificity.

“This enhanced performance can be delivered while reducing the number of biopsies hence reducing morbidity and costs. EIS can also improve the utility of the ‘see and treat’ option. The increased specificity results in better identification of women who have high grade CIN and reduces over treatment.

“This allows better use of resources but more importantly reduces the number of women who would needlessly undergo LLETZ (large loop excision of the transformation zone) and suffer the complications of the procedure. The study was pragmatic in design and was part of normal colposcopy practice. The data on improved performance, I believe, will be applicable to every day colposcopy practice.”

Last year, Prof. Tidy was the recipient of the Best Scientific Paper Award for his oral abstract presentation, “Improved Colposcopic Performance using Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy (APX100) as an Adjunct” at the ASCCP Biennial Scientific Meeting 2012 in San Francisco.

Source: Zilico Ltd.