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JAMA. 2018 Aug 21;320(7):687-705. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.10400.

Screening for Cervical Cancer With High-Risk Human Papillomavirus Testing: Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force.

Author information

University of California, Davis, Center for Healthcare Policy and Research, Sacramento.
Kaiser Permanente Research Affiliates Evidence-based Practice Center, Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente, Portland, Oregon.



Cervical cancer can be prevented with detection and treatment of precancerous cell changes caused primarily by high-risk types of human papillomavirus (hrHPV), the causative agents in more than 90% of cervical cancers.


To systematically review benefits and harms of cervical cancer screening for hrHPV to inform the US Preventive Services Task Force.

Data Sources:

MEDLINE, PubMed, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Collaboration Registry of Controlled Trials from January 2011 through February 15, 2017; surveillance through May 25, 2018.

Study Selection:

Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and cohort studies comparing primary hrHPV screening alone or hrHPV cotesting (both hrHPV testing and cytology) with cytology (Papanicolaou [Pap] test) screening alone.

Data Extraction and Synthesis:

Two investigators independently reviewed abstracts and full-text articles and quality rated included studies; data were qualitatively synthesized.

Main Outcomes and Measures:

Invasive cervical cancer; cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN); false-positive, colposcopy, and biopsy rates; psychological harms.


Eight RCTs (n = 410 556), 5 cohort studies (n = 402 615), and 1 individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis (n = 176 464) were included. Trials were heterogeneous for screening interval, number of rounds, and protocol. For primary hrHPV screening, evidence was consistent across 4 trials demonstrating increased detection of CIN 3 or worse (CIN 3+) in round 1 (relative risk [RR] range, 1.61 [95% CI, 1.09-2.37] to 7.46 [95% CI, 1.02-54.66]). Among 4 hrHPV cotesting trials, first-round CIN 3+ detection was not significantly different between screening groups; RRs for cumulative CIN 3+ detection over 2 screening rounds ranged from 0.91 to 1.13. In first-round screening, false-positive rates for primary hrHPV screening ranged from 6.6% to 7.4%, compared with 2.6% to 6.5% for cytology. For cotesting, false-positives ranged from 5.8% to 19.9% in the first round of screening, compared with 2.6% to 10.9% for cytology. First-round colposcopy rates were also higher, ranging 1.2% to 7.9% for primary hrHPV testing, compared with 1.1% to 3.1% for cytology alone; colposcopy rates for cotesting ranged from 6.8% to 10.9%, compared with 3.3% to 5.2% for cytology alone. The IPD meta-analysis of data from 4 cotesting trials and 1 primary hrHPV screening trial found lower risk of invasive cervical cancer with any hrHPV screening compared with cytology alone (pooled RR, 0.60 [95% CI, 0.40-0.89]).

Conclusions and Relevance:

Primary hrHPV screening detected higher rates of CIN 3+ at first-round screening compared with cytology. Cotesting trials did not show initial increased CIN 3+ detection. Both hrHPV screening strategies had higher false-positive and colposcopy rates than cytology, which could lead to more treatments with potential harms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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