OBJECTIVE. Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) cells, occurring in organized cytological screening, may be either high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) positive or negative. To refine the assessment of women with ASCUS, a high-risk HPV-DNA test is recommended as triage in Sweden. METHODS: A total of 197 consecutive women (mean age 39 years, range 21-60) with a diagnosis of ASCUS from the primary screening were selected for triage. Their cervical smears were collected and evaluated by using conventional cytological examination in combination with a high-risk HPV-DNA test (hybrid capture 2). The women were categorized into four groups: Group A, Cytology + /HPV + ; Group B, Cytology-/HPV + ; Group C, Cytology + /HPV-; and Group D, Cytology-/ HPV-. Women within Groups A-C were admitted for colposcopy and cervical biopsy. The women in Group D were considered as a low-risk group for tumor development, and were re-examined after three years in the next round of the organized screening. RESULTS: In women in Group A (n=58) the prevalence of histological verified CIN2-3 was 41%, in Group B (n=41) 20%, and in Group C (n=9) 0%. In Group D (n=89), repeated primary screening three years later revealed CIN2-3 in two biopsies from 74 women studied ( or =50 years. CONCLUSIONS: Adding a high-risk HPV test in secondary screening increased the identification of women with CIN2-3 lesions by 33% in comparison with repeat cytology (p=0.01). The clinical significance of the ASCUS diagnosis varied with age of the women.