Objectives The Bethesda 2001 Workshop was convened to evaluate and update the 1991
Bethesda System terminology for reporting the results of cervical cytology.
A primary objective was to develop a new approach to broaden participation
in the consensus process.
Participants Forum groups composed of 6 to 10 individuals were responsible for developing
recommendations for discussion at the workshop. Each forum group included
at least 1 cytopathologist, cytotechnologist, clinician, and international
representative to ensure a broad range of views and interests. More than 400
cytopathologists, cytotechnologists, histopathologists, family practitioners,
gynecologists, public health physicians, epidemiologists, patient advocates,
and attorneys participated in the workshop, which was convened by the National
Cancer Institute and cosponsored by 44 professional societies. More than 20
countries were represented.
Evidence Literature review, expert opinion, and input from an Internet bulletin
board were all considered in developing recommendations. The strength of evidence
of the scientific data was considered of paramount importance.
Consensus Process Bethesda 2001 was a year-long iterative review process. An Internet
bulletin board was used for discussion of issues and drafts of recommendations.
More than 1000 comments were posted to the bulletin board over the course
of 6 months. The Bethesda Workshop, held April 30-May 2, 2001, was open to
the public. Postworkshop recommendations were posted on the bulletin board
for a last round of critical review prior to finalizing the terminology.
Conclusions Bethesda 2001 was developed with broad participation in the consensus
process. The 2001 Bethesda System terminology reflects important advances
in biological understanding of cervical neoplasia and cervical screening technology.