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Ann Oncol. 2014 May;25(5):927-35. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdt538. Epub 2014 Jan 19.

Cervical cancer screening: on the way to a shift from cytology to full molecular screening.

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Department of Pathology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam.


Cytology-based nation-wide cervical screening has led to a substantial reduction of the incidence of cervical cancer in western countries. However, the sensitivity of cytology for the detection of high-grade precursor lesions or cervical cancer is limited; therefore, repeated testing is necessary to achieve program effectiveness. Additionally, adenocarcinomas and its precursors are often missed by cytology. Consequently, there is a need for a better screening test. The insight that infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) is the causal agent of cervical cancer and its precursors has led to the development of molecular tests for the detection of hrHPV. Strong evidence now supports the use of hrHPV testing in the prevention of cervical cancer. In this review, we will discuss the arguments in favor of, and concerns on aspects of implementation of hrHPV testing in primary cervical cancer screening, such as the age to start hrHPV-based screening, ways to increase screening attendance, requirements for candidate hrHPV tests to be used, and triage algorithms for screen-positive women.


cervical cancer screening; hrHPV DNA; self-sampling; triage

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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