Research shows introduction of HPV triage will improve programme

Published 28th September, 2011

New research published today in the British Journal of Cancer1 shows that the introduction of HPV triage into the NHS Cervical Screening Programme could significantly reduce the number of women sent for more invasive tests, when in fact they do not have any serious cervical changes.

The Sentinel Site study looked at over 10,000 women aged 25-64 whose first screening test result had shown mild or borderline abnormalities in the cervix. The screening samples from these women were then tested for HPV and results from the six sites showed that around 35 per cent (3581 women) were HPV negative and were able to return to routine screening.

Professor Julietta Patnick CBE, Director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, said:
"The NHSCSP is very pleased indeed with the results from the Sentinel Site project. The use of HPV testing that this paper reports is currently being incorporated into the screening programme nationwide and will be fully rolled out within the next year.

"By incorporating HPV testing into our current screening programme in this way, we will be able to significantly reduce the number of repeat cytology tests required and to target our colposcopy services more effectively. This is an important development in our programme enabling us to screen women more effectively and efficiently, reducing unnecessary procedures and minimising any associated anxiety."

1Moss SM et al., HPV Testing as a triage for borderline or mild dyskaryosis on cervical cytology: results from the sentinel sites studies, British Journal of Cancer (2011)