Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2012 Oct;23(4):282-7.
doi: 10.3802/jgo.2012.23.4.282. Epub 2012 Sep 19.

New Insights Into Cervical Cancer Screening

Free PMC article

New Insights Into Cervical Cancer Screening

Jonathan D Boone et al. J Gynecol Oncol. .
Free PMC article


Worldwide, cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer related morbidity and mortality. For over 50 years, cervical cytology has been the gold standard for cervical cancer screening. Because of its profound effect on cervical cancer mortality in nations that have adopted screening programs, the Pap smear is widely accepted as the model screening test. Since its introduction, many studies have analyzed the Pap smear and found that it is not without its shortcomings including low sensitivity for detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2/3. Additionally, the discovery of infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) as a necessary step in the development of cervical cancer has led to the development of HPV testing as an adjunct to cytology screening. More recently, researchers have compared HPV testing and cytology in the primary screening of cervical cancer. In this review, we will discuss cytologic testing limitations, the role of HPV DNA testing as an alternative screening tool, the impact of the HPV vaccine on screening, and future directions in cervical cancer screening.

Keywords: Co-testing; Cytology; HPV vaccine; Pap smear limitations; Screening.

Conflict of interest statement

The author, Warner K. Huh has worked as a consultant for Roche Diagnostics and Merck & Co. Inc.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 12 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Papanicolaou GN, Traut HF. The diagnostic value of vaginal smears in carcinoma of the uterus. 1941. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1997;121:211–224. - PubMed
    1. Jemal A, Bray F, Center MM, Ferlay J, Ward E, Forman D. Global cancer statistics. CA Cancer J Clin. 2011;61:69–90. - PubMed
    1. Quinn M, Babb P, Jones J, Allen E. Effect of screening on incidence of and mortality from cancer of cervix in England: evaluation based on routinely collected statistics. BMJ. 1999;318:904–908. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Sasieni P, Adams J. Effect of screening on cervical cancer mortality in England and Wales: analysis of trends with an age period cohort model. BMJ. 1999;318:1244–1245. - PMC - PubMed
    1. van der Aa MA, Pukkala E, Coebergh JW, Anttila A, Siesling S. Mass screening programmes and trends in cervical cancer in Finland and the Netherlands. Int J Cancer. 2008;122:1854–1858. - PubMed