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Acceleration of Cervical Cancer Diagnosis with Human Papillomavirus Testing Below Age 30: Observational Study

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Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
Early online date31 Dec 2021
Accepted/In press29 Nov 2021
E-pub ahead of print31 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Several international cervical screening guidelines advise against using high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) testing in women younger than 30. The rationale for this in young women, lies in the potential for additional detection of both low-grade and high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) leading to unnecessary treatments without reducing the burden of cervical cancer. We studied 56,544 women screened at 24-29 with HR-HPV testing and 116,858 screened with liquid-based cytology (LBC) in the English HPV screening pilot. They were compared with 528,460 women screened at the age of 30-49. We studied the detection of cervical cancer and CIN2/3 across two consecutive screening rounds three years apart. At 24-29, a positive HR-HPV test detected more cases of cervical cancer in the prevalence round than did a positive LBC test (1.36/1000 screened vs. 0.82/1000, ORadj : 1.61, 95% CI: 1.18-2.19). In women with a negative HR-HPV test, cervical cancer was diagnosed before or at the incidence round in 0.07/1000. After a negative LBC test, cancer detection reached 0.47/1000 and 40% of these cases were diagnosed at FIGO stage IB+. HR-HPV testing increased the detection of CIN2/3 diagnoses in two consecutive rounds combined by 30% (71.9/1000 vs. 55.2/1000). The patterns of detection of cervical cancer and CIN2/3 were almost identical at older ages. These data support using HR-HPV testing for screening of women younger than 30, which not only accelerates the diagnosis of cervical cancer but leads to a similar relative increase in CIN2/3 diagnosis to that found in women aged 30-49. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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