Primary high-risk HPV screening for cervical cancer in post-menopausal women

Ulf Gyllensten, Inger Gustavsson, Monica Lindell, Erik Wilander
Gynecologic Oncology 2012, 125 (2): 343-5

OBJECTIVE: The present study was conducted to examine the value of screening for high-risk HPV in post-menopausal women.

METHODS: A cohort of post-menopausal women (n=2113), age range 55-76 years, from Uppsala County, Sweden, were offered testing for both high-risk HPV and a Pap smear in the gynaecological screening during 2008-2010. For the HPV test the cervical smear sample was applied to a filter paper matrix, an indicating FTA elute card and HPV typing performed using a real-time PCR assay. Histological verified CIN2+ lesion was used as an end-point measurement.

RESULTS: High-risk HPV were found in 6.2% (95% CI 5.2-7.3%) of the women (n=130) and 22% (95% CI 14-32%) (n=17) of these had CIN2+ lesions based on histology. The Pap smear taken in conjunction with the HPV test was abnormal in 9.7% (95% CI 5.7-16.3%) (n=12) of HPV positive women. Among HPV positive women with an abnormal Pap smear, the frequency of histology verified CIN2+ lesions was 67% (95% CI 38-86%) (n=8), as compared to 14% (95% CI 7-24%) (n=9) in HPV positive women with a normal smear. The prevalence of HPV16 in CIN2+ lesions (29%, 95% CI 22-37%) in post-menopausal women was less than half of previous estimates in pre-menopausal women from this population.

CONCLUSIONS: Most histological CIN2+ lesions in post-menopausal women are not recognized by a single Pap smear. A large fraction of pre-invasive cervical cancer cases in post-menopausal women result from infections by HPV types not included in the present vaccine formulas.

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