Background: In the HPV FOCAL trial, we will establish the efficacy of hr-HPV DNA testing as a stand-alone screening test followed by liquid based cytology (LBC) triage of hr-HPV-positive women compared to LBC followed by hr-HPV triage with > or = CIN3 as the outcome.
Methods/design: HPV-FOCAL is a randomized, controlled, three-armed study over a four year period conducted in British Columbia. It will recruit 33,000 women aged 25-65 through the province's population based cervical cancer screening program. Control arm: LBC at entry and two years, and combined LBC and hr-HPV at four years among those with initial negative results and hr-HPV triage of ASCUS cases; Two Year Safety Check arm: hr-HPV at entry and LBC at two years in those with initial negative results with LBC triage of hr-HPV positives; Four Year Intervention Arm: hr-HPV at entry and combined hr-HPV and LBC at four years among those with initial negative results with LBC triage of hr-HPV positive cases
Discussion: To date, 6150 participants have a completed sample and epidemiologic questionnaire. Of the 2019 women enrolled in the control arm, 1908 (94.5%) were cytology negative. Women aged 25-29 had the highest rates of HSIL (1.4%). In the safety arm 92.2% of women were hr-HPV negative, with the highest rate of hr-HPV positivity found in 25-29 year old women (23.5%). Similar results were obtained in the intervention arm HPV FOCAL is the first randomized trial in North America to examine hr-HPV testing as the primary screen for cervical cancer within a population-based cervical cancer screening program.
Trial registration: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register, ISRCTN79347302.