Organised, cytology-based cervical screening has led to a reduction in deaths associated with cervical cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is necessary for the development of cervical cancer and associated pre-cursor cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and accumulated evidence suggests that incorporation of HPV testing could further refine screening programmes. HPV testing is discussed in the context of primary screening, for triage, and as a test of cure of treatment and possible value in developing countries. The high negative predictive value of a "double negative" cytology and HPV result could allow considerable changes in policy such as increased intervals between screening rounds, adjustment of age ranges for testing and schedule for return to routine screening post treatment. HPV testing for the triage of women to colposcopy with borderline or atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) cytology could be clinically effective, but may be limited in women with low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) or mild dyskaryosis by high HPV prevalence. Markers of HPV persistence harbour enormous potential to identify women at greatest risk of disease progression. Due to the diversity of existing cytology-based screening programmes, full cost-effectiveness analyses of HPV testing should be performed and assessed within local contexts.
- Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia
- Mass Screening
- Papillomavirus Infections
- Uterine Cervical Neoplasms