Exhaustive Study Creates Case for Co-Testing for Cervical Cancer

The study, in more than 250,000 women, found that combining Pap test with HPV screening works best in identifying women with cervical cancer and reduces the possibility of false negatives.

Cervical cancer screening with a test for human papillomavirus (HPV) resulted in a 50% higher rate of false-negative results versus Pap testing and three times greater versus co-testing, a large retrospective study showed.

Data encompassing more than 250,000 women showed a false-negative rate of 18.6% compared with 12.2% for Pap testing. With a false-negative rate of 5.5%, screening women with the HPV test and Pap test missed the fewest cancers.

The results support clinical guidelines that recommend co-testing, according to authors of a report in Cancer Cytopathology. The results differ dramatically, however, from those of previous studies that have consistently shown greater diagnostic accuracy for the HPV test compared with the Pap test.

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