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Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2012 Apr;26(2):209-20. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2011.11.003. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Human papillomavirus deoxyribonucleic acid testing in developed countries.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110029, India.


Cervical cancer has been largely eliminated in developed countries with the implementation of cytology-based screening programmes that depend on a call-recall system, followed by colposcopy and biopsy, treatment of precancerous lesions and follow up. With the discovery that persistent infection with high-risk human papillomavirus types is necessary for the development of cervical cancer, several tests for human papillomavirus deoxyribonucleic acid have been developed that can identify women at risk. Human papillomavirus deoxyribonucleic acid testing is more sensitive and only slightly less specific than cytology for detecting cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. It is also more reproducible, with the potential for self-sampling. Human papillomavirus genotyping, messenger RNA analysis and other biomarkers can help to further stratify this group and diminish referrals to colposcopy. Initially, human papillomavirus testing was used as an adjunct to cytology for triage of borderline cases, but evidence has shown its superiority as a screening method and in the follow up of women treated for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.

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