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Combining Pap and HPV Tests Slashes Cancer Miss Rates

Combining Pap and HPV Tests Slashes Cancer Miss Rates
(Copyright AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 03 May 2016 12:14 PM


Combining two diagnostic tests — the Pap and high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) — decreases the chances of missing cervical cancer by sevenfold, says a study conducted at Houston Methodist Hospital.

The Pap test screens for cervical cancer by spotting abnormal cells on the cervix. Abnormalities can be treated before they turn into cancer. A HPV test indentifies the presence of genital HPV, a virus that can cause genital warts, abnormal cervical cells, or cervical cancer.

The Pap test, which was developed in 1928, is recommended for women between 21 and 65 years old. Women 30 and older who are negative on co-testing may wait as long as five years for their next testing.

In 2014, the FDA approved the use of an HPV DNA test as a primary screening tool for women 25 and older. The test detects two of the most common high-risk HPV strains (16 and 18) as well as combined results for 12 additional high-risk HPV types.

For the new study, Mody and her team reviewed data from 1,652 cases. The Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital compiled cases with cytology-HPV co-testing and follow-up biopsies.

The researchers found that 253 cases of high-grade lesions were confirmed by biopsy. Of those cases, the Pap test and the hrHPV test accurately detected approximately 91 percent of the cases. When they combined the tests, the team found only three of the 253 cases were double-negatives for both the Pap and hrHPV tests.

"We've known that neither test is perfect and misses a certain number of cases, but we didn't realize until we analyzed the data just how impactful the combination of these tests would be," said Dina Mody, M.D., director of cytopathology at Houston Methodist Hospital and co-author of the study. "The numbers tell me that Ob-Gyns need to regularly offer co-testing, and woman age 30 or older need to proactively request co-testing."

About 13,000 American women will develop cervical cancer this year, and fewer than 70 percent live longer than five years after diagnosis.

The study is published in Cancer Cytopathology, published by the American Cancer Society.

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Combining two diagnostic tests - the Pap and high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) - decreases the chances of missing cervical cancer by sevenfold, says a study conducted at Houston Methodist Hospital. The Pap test screens for cervical cancer by spotting abnormal cells on...
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2016-14-03
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 12:14 PM
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