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ASCO: Three-Year Cervical Cancer Screening Interval Safe

Last Updated: May 19, 2011.

Human papillomavirus testing and Pap smear testing for cervical cancer screening can safely be extended from one- to three-year intervals, according to research to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from June 3 to 7 in Chicago.

THURSDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and Pap smear testing for cervical cancer screening can safely be extended from one- to three-year intervals, according to research to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from June 3 to 7 in Chicago.

Hormuzd Katki, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues evaluated 331,818 women aged 30 years and older who enrolled in Kaiser Permanente Northern California's co-testing program (concurrent HPV testing with Pap tests) between 2003 and 2005 for five years.

The investigators found that the five-year cancer risk for women who had a normal Pap test and tested negative for HPV was 3.2 per 100,000 women per year. The investigators also found that HPV-negative women had half the cancer risk of women with a normal Pap test (3.8 per 100,000 women per year versus 7.5 per 100,000), which suggested that HPV testing alone is more accurate than a Pap smear alone. The cancer risk for HPV testing alone was also low compared with HPV and Pap testing combined (3.8 versus 3.2 per 100,000). The researchers concluded that co-testing screening intervals can safely be extended from one to three years.

"Our results are a formal confirmation that the three-year follow-up is appropriate and safe for women who have a negative HPV test and normal Pap result," Katki said in a statement. "These results also suggest that an HPV-negative test result alone could be enough to give a high level of security for extending the testing interval to every three years, but we'll need additional evidence from routine clinical practice, and formal recommendations from guideline panels before that can be routinely recommended."

A co-author disclosed financial ties to BD Biosciences, Roche, and Qiagen.

Abstract No. 1508
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