Published: Sat, July 07, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

HPV Test More Accurate than Pap In Screening for Cervical Cancer

HPV Test More Accurate than Pap In Screening for Cervical Cancer

Patients with breast cancer may be missing out on genetic tests that could pinpoint the ideal treatment regimen, despite current practice guideline recommendations, Reuters reported. She says the method of testing comes second to being sure that all women, especially high-prevalence groups like black and Hispanic women, are able to get the testing they need. Altogether, 17% of the variation in genetic testing rates could be explained by surgeons' practice patterns, the study found.

The cytology-based Pap smear includes searching for tumor or pre-cancer cells by testing cells obtained from the lower end of a female uterus, known as the cervix. detecting the diseases by observing a single cells and little groups of cells is known as cytology or cytopathology. Testing for cancer-related human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes 99.7 percent of cervical cancer, outperformed the effectiveness of Pap smears in women over the age of 30.

The researchers compared people who had the HPV test, the Pap smear and both, and analyzed their impact over four years. Where it is hard to apply HPV tests over pap smear for U.S. as there hasn't been head to head comparison until now.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a DNA virus from the papillomavirus family.

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A new study conducted by a team of researchers has revealed a yet simpler method to examine any condition of cervical cancer.

Pap smears rely on the human eye to get results, says Dr. Diane Harper, a professor of medicine who researches HPV at the University of MI, "and it's far preferable to detect problems on a molecular level".

While the results of the study are encouraging and suggest that HPV testing could work well as a primary test in place of cervical smears, we do not have longer-term results to show whether it actually makes a difference to how many women get invasive cervical cancer or die of the disease.

Many women who have HPV (usually acquired via sexual contact) eliminate it from their bodies within a year or two. This would mean that a positive HPV screen could represent a false-positive cancer screen, as not all HPV infections progress to a cancer diagnosis - some of them clear on their own.

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The study included patients from 2008 to 2012, and nearly half of them were tested using the HPV test.

Numerous medical groups have said that before moving to HPV testing only, they needed to see clinical trial results - such as the kind provided by the new head-to-head study - to determine which test, over time, was better at detecting the precancerous changes. One group got the HPV test to screen for cervical cancer, almost all cases of which are caused by HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection.

Women with positive HPV or smear tests had their samples immediately analysed using the other test and then had a colposcopy if results showed both HPV and changes to cells. Two years later, the ones that tested negative after the Pap smear had another test of the same type. Effect of screening with primary cervical HPV testing vs cytology testing on high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia at 48 months [published online July 3, 2018].

Because the HPV vaccine that is recommended for adolescents is still limited in its use, testing for the presence of the HPV virus, in general, will continue to be a crucial part of cervical cancer prevention. "It's up to 30 percent of people [who] are falsely positive". "This has been building for decades", he said, adding that the Pap smear is "crude and inaccurate" while the HPV test is much more precise, operates on the molecular level and can provide information on the specific type of HPV causing the problem.

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Researchers in the study said one of the next steps is to look into whether the additional cases of cervical cancer that could be found with HPV testing would justify the cost of co-testing - or whether HPV testing alone would be more cost effective.

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