HPV testing: where are we now?

Anticancer Res. 2000 Nov-Dec;20(6C):4673-80.


Objectives: 1) To assess if HPV (human papillomavirus)-DNA testing using the presently available technology offers any advantage over the utilization of the traditional Pap-smear as a screening tool for women at risk for cervical pre-cancers. 2) To assess if the HPV-DNA test is a valuable intermediate triage method for patients with Pap-smears demonstrating ASCUS (Abnormal Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance) or LG-SIL (Low-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions) in order to better select those patients who would maximally benefit from colposcopy, thus, using clinical resources in an efficient way.

Material and methods: Review of the peer reviewed literature between 1992 and June 2000 regarding: 1) new and innovative approaches for cervical cancer screening and prevention; 2) advances in management protocols of ASCUS and LG-SIL with the introduction of HPV-DNA test.

Results: HPV-DNA testing in association with the Pap (Papanicolau) smear performed either conventionally or, preferably, with the new liquid based cytology is a valuable adjunct with high sensitivity and acceptable specificity rates in defining those patients most likely to demonstrate HG-SIL (High-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions) at the time of colposcopy.

Conclusion: At present available evidence indicates that the best reason for performing HPV-DNA testing is the triage of selected patients with ASCUS and in specific settings with LG-SIL. Ongoing clinical studies may demonstrate additional advantages for this technology when used in a screening application.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Risk Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology
  • Vaginal Smears


  • DNA, Viral