Research brief: HPV testing more accurate than smears

Testing for HPV is more sensitive at detecting precancerous cervical lesions than traditional Pap smears, Italian research has shown. Over 33,000 women underwent conventional Pap smears, liquid-based cytology and/or HPV testing. HPV testing alone increased sensitivity by over 40 per cent compared to conventional pap smears, although the rate of false positives rose by between 25 and 42 per cent. Adding liquid-based cytology to HPV testing did not increase sensitivity further, but did raise the number of false positives (J Natl Cancer Inst 2006; 98: 765-74).

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