Longer screening intervals possible with HPV-based tests

January 21, 2014

A new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden finds that testing for human papilloma virus (HPV) allows for longer time between screening tests when compared to cytology-based testing. The study is published in the scientific journal British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Cervical screening programs have until recently relied on cytology to identify women at risk for developing . However, it has long been known that testing screening with human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA tests has a higher sensitivity for (CIN), the lesion that the program intends to find since it can progress to cervical cancer if left untreated. Until now, it has been unclear whether HPV-based screening results in overdiagnosis of lesions that would not have progressed to cancer. Also, it has not been clear whether, if implemented, the screening interval could be prolonged when using HPV-based screening.

The current study is a long-term follow-up of the national Swedescreen. The trial was started in1997 and enrolled more than 12,000 women in ages 32–38 from all over Sweden. The women were randomized to either double testing with both HPV testing and cytology, or only cytology test. At the follow-up 13 years after the start of the study, the researchers found that the increased detection rate for pre-cancerous lesions of HPV-based screening reflects earlier detection rather than over-diagnosis. The researchers also investigated the duration of the protective effect of the two by over time comparing the incidence of pre-cancerous lesions in women who had negative test results in the screening.

"The protection of HPV-based screening after five years is about the same as for cytology-based screening after three years", says Miriam Elfström at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, first author of the study. "This indicates that 5-year screening intervals could be used with HPV-based screening, instead of the current 3-year intervals".

Explore further: HPV testing could cut cervical cancers by a third

More information: K Miriam Elfström, Vitaly Smelov, Anna L V Johansson, Carina Eklund, Pontus Nauclér, Lisen Arnheim-Dahlström, Joakim Dillner. "Long term duration of protective effect for HPV negative women: follow-up of primary HPV screening randomised controlled trial." BMJ 2014;348:g130, online 16 January 2014, doi: dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g130

Related Stories

HPV testing could cut cervical cancers by a third

June 14, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Testing women for the human papillomavirus (HPV) first, instead of using the traditional cervical screening test to detect abnormal cells in the cervix, could prevent around 600 cases of cervical cancer ...

Multiple strategies are more efficient for cervical cancer

March 30, 2013
(HealthDay)—Multiple cervical cancer screening strategies that maximize early detection of high-grade disease without excessive increases in initial testing appear to be most effective, according to a study published in ...

HPV home tests could identify cancer risk

December 18, 2013
HPV self-testing is as effective as tests done by doctors, according to a Lund University study. Simple HPV home tests could therefore complement existing screening programmes, and identify more women at risk for cervical ...

HPV 6, 11, 42/Combo detection doesn't ID CIN 2+, 3+ risk

December 26, 2013
(HealthDay)—Detection of human papillomavirus (HPV) 6, 11, 42 or combination infections does not identify increased three-year risk of cervical precancer, according to a study published in the January issue of Obstetrics ...

Recommended for you

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.