Cytology versus HPV testing for cervical cancer screening in the general population

This new Cochrane systematic review has investigated the diagnostic accuracy of HPV testing for detecting grade 2 or greater cervical intraepithelial neoplasias and how it compares to the accuracy of cytological testing.  The review includes 40 studies many of which were assessed as having a low risk of bias. Analysis suggests that while HPV tests are less likely to miss cases of grade 2 and 3 CIN the tests do lead to more unnecessary referrals. However the authors also found that a negative HPV test is more reassuring than a negative cytology test. Moving forward prospective longitudinal studies are need to determine the relative clinical implications of both tests.

 

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