Test Used for Early Detection of Cervical Cancer
An abnormal -- and ambiguous -- Pap smear can now be
followed by a test for human papillomavirus (HPV)
to better detect cervical
cancer, and avoid unnecessary biopsies, according to
new research. This may be an effective way to decrease
the number of biopsies performed on women with a benign
HPV infection, one that does not cause cancer. Results
of the study are published in the February 21st issue of
the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
3,500 women with abnormal Pap results were randomly
assigned one of three methods for managing the abnormal
Pap. The women were either given:
immediate colposcopy, in which a doctor examines the
cervix with a magnifying instrument and biopsies
tissue if necessary.
colposcopy only if a repeat Pap test came back
colposcopy based only on a positive HPV test.
Dr. Diane Solomon and colleagues at the National Cancer Institute
in Bethesda, Maryland found that repeat Pap smears,
which detected about 85 percent of cancers or precancers,
while the HPV test caught 96 percent of cancerous
other articles about cervical cancer and HPV were also
published in the issue.
Thursday, February 22nd 2001