HPV test better predicts cervical cancer risk than Pap test



Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of nearly all cervical cancers. Newer approaches to cervical cancer screening test for HPV DNA (or RNA) at the cervix, whereas traditional Pap tests detect abnormal cell changes associated with the development of cancer. Co-testing is now recommended for most women, but clinicians remained unsure of the value of concurrent HPV testing.


Based on a study that included more than one million women, IRP researcher Julia C. Gage, Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues determined that a negative test for HPV infection provides greater safety, or assurance, against future risk of cervical cancer, compared to a negative result from a Pap test.


The team’s findings provide evidence to support the currently recommended co-testing strategy with HPV and Pap, as well as the possibility of primary HPV testing as another alternative for cervical screening.


Gage JC, Schiffman M, Katki HA, Castle PE, Fetterman B, Wentzensen N, Poitras NE, Lorey T, Cheung LC, Kinney WK. (2014). Reassurance against future risk of precancer and cancer conferred by a negative HPV test. J Natl Cancer Inst. 106(8).

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This page was last updated on Friday, June 16, 2023