HPV testing in the context of post-treatment follow up (test of cure)

J Clin Virol. 2016 Mar;76 Suppl 1:S56-S61. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2015.10.008. Epub 2015 Oct 22.


Background: Women treated for cervical lesions are at higher risk of subsequent disease compared to the general population. Consequently, post treatment surveillance strategies are required to ensure the success of treatment, so called "test of cure". The high sensitivity and negative predictive value of HPV assays can enhance post-treatment strategies.

Objectives: To provide an overview of the current data on test of cure strategies with a particular focus on HPV testing and to identify knowledge gaps and areas for further research.

Results: HPV testing is sensitive for the detection of residual or recurrent disease post treatment for CIN2+ and is more sensitive than cytology alone. Co-testing increases sensitivity, marginally and there is a lack of consensus regarding the efficiency and safety to release negative women. Most test of cure studies have applied HPV DNA tests and post treatment positivity rates vary widely depending on assay and potentially, treatment type.

Conclusions: Globally, an increasing number of test of cure algorithms now incorporate HPV testing although there is heterogeneity of practice with respect to assay, number of post treatment tests, testing intervals, follow up time. While type specific persistence identified through genotyping may identify those at greater risk of disease there is no consensus as to how this may be applied, clinically. Data on HPV testing in women treated for glandular lesions would be welcome as would the performance of different HPV assays and associated biomarkers in this context.

Keywords: Cervical lesions; Human papillomavirus; Post treatment; Test of cure; Testing strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Pharmacological / metabolism
  • DNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genotyping Techniques
  • Human Papillomavirus DNA Tests
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Papillomaviridae / classification
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / surgery
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / complications
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / surgery
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / virology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / complications
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology


  • Biomarkers, Pharmacological
  • DNA, Viral