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The advent of human papillomavirus detection for cervical screening

Brian J Morris
Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology 2019 April 2

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review updates progress in the human papillomavirus (HPV)-based revolution in cervical screening and vaccination predicted to eventually eliminate cervical cancer.

RECENT FINDINGS: HPV PCR, patented by the author in 1987, has recently begun to replace cytology for primary cervical screening. I highlight the findings from large randomized clinical trials that have brought about this change, and progress with implementation. Australia was the first to introduce a national, publicly-funded HPV PCR-based program of primary screening, on 1 December 2017. The United Kingdom is set to follow, as are other countries. The widespread preference of self-sampling by under-screened women in particular will increase the effectiveness of population screening when using HPV tests. Coupled with improved vaccination now that more effective (nonavalent) HPV vaccines are being introduced, recent modeling predicts that cervical cancer will be markedly reduced, or even eliminated, in coming decades.

SUMMARY: The recent or pending change to more accurate cervical screening by HPV detection using PCR in various countries means less frequent screening for women. Women with an aversion to having their sample collected by a physician can collect their sample themselves, either at the doctor's rooms or at home, the sample then being mailed to the testing laboratory.


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