We assessed a possible role for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in the policy after treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 2 or 3 (moderate to severe dysplasia). According to the Dutch guidelines follow-up after treatment consists of cervical cytology at 6, 12 and 24 months. Colposcopy is only performed in case of abnormal cervical cytology. In this observational study 184 women treated for CIN 2 or 3 were prospectively monitored by cervical cytology and high-risk HPV testing 3, 6, 9, 12 and 24 months after treatment. Post-treatment CIN 2/3 was present in 29 women (15.8%). A positive high-risk HPV test 6 months after treatment was more predictive for post-treatment CIN 2/3 than abnormal cervical cytology (sensitivity 90% and 62% respectively, with similar specificity). At 6 months the negative predictive value of a high-risk HPV negative, normal smear, was 99%. Largely overlapping, partly different groups of women with post-treatment CIN 2/3 were identified by HPV testing and cervical cytology. Based on these results we advocate to include high-risk HPV testing in monitoring women initially treated for CIN 2/3. In case of a high-risk HPV positive test or abnormal cervical cytology, colposcopy is indicated. All women should be tested at 6 and 24 months after treatment and only referred to the population-based cervical cancer screening programme when the tests are negative on both visits.
Copyright 2001 Cancer Research Campaign.