HPV tests 'fail to boost cervical cancer detection rate'

Combining HPV testing with the current method of routine liquid-based cytology (LBC) screening does not appear to increase the detection of cervical cancer, UK research suggests.

Previous studies have proposed that testing for HPV in the cervix is a more sensitive method than conventional smears.

For this latest study, 24,510 women, aged 20-64, who were attending general practice or family-planning clinics in Greater Manchester were randomised to receive either a smear test or testing for HPV and a smear test.

The women were followed-up and screened over three years to determine whether the addition of HPV testing improved cancer detection rates.

Overall, HPV testing did detect cases of precancerous cells that were missed by LBC alone in the first screening round.

However, there were fewer cases detected by HPV testing in the second round and no significant overall difference between the two groups.

The research team, from the University of Manchester, concluded that the trial showed no evidence that LBC combined with HPV testing in primary cervical screening detected more precancerous cervical cells.


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