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New backing for HPV screening

Thursday February 7th, 2019

The cervical screening programme in the UK will be more efficient when it switches to testing for HPV, researchers say today.

The switch would allow screening intervals to be reduced to five years – and would be better at identifying women at risk, according to a report in The BMJ.

The findings are based on an analysis of pilot projects in England and support plans to roll HPV screening out nationwide at the end of this year, the researchers say.

The pilot study involved six NHS laboratories in England. In the project women found to be positive with high risk HPV were asked to return after a year or two years. About 80% of women complied with this, the researchers report.

The study also found that HPV screening detected substantially more cervical lesions than did the smear test. The detection rate was 50% greater for CIN2+ lesions, 40% for CIN3+ lesions and 30% more for cervical cancers.

After three years, when women returned for their next screen, very few CIN2+ lesions were found among women who had previously been negative for HPV infection.

The researchers, led by Matejka Rebolj, of King's College, London, say: "This large pilot carried out under routine screening conditions has confirmed that HR-HPV screening is practical on a large scale - and confers greater sensitivity for both CIN3+ and cervical cancer than LBC testing."

BMJ 7 February 2019

http://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l240

Tags: Cancer | Flu & Viruses | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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