Experts back HPV test for cervical smears
Posted by hannahflynn on January 26, 2010
Experts have shown that HPV testing instead of cervical smears may be the best first line of defence in cervical screening.
Results published in the Lancet Oncolcogy showed HPV testing could reduce the number of cervical screenings which a woman need to attend. Researchers compared HPV testing with cytology in 81,220 women aged 25 to 60. In the second round of testing, done in women who had tested positive for HPV, nine invasive cancers were found in the cytology group.
Combining HPV and cytology testing did not improve sensitivity, suggesting HPV testing alone was responsible for the increased detection of abnormalities.
However, switching to HPV testing will only be recommented for women over the age of 35, as in the younger age group, HPV testing led to an over-diagnosis of regressive lesions, which, if treated surgically, can cause problems during pregnancy.
Professor Kitchener, who chairs the UK’s cervical screening advisory group, said in Pulse magazine: ‘In an era with a vaccinated cohort of women, there is a higher chance women will test negative for HPV and you can confine cytology to women who are HPV positive.