Human papillomavirus (HPV) genotyping can benefit clinical practice

A study published in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) concludes that genotyping of specific high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), the cause of virtually all cases of cervical cancer, can benefit clinical practice by enabling more focused attention on women who are at highest risk, announced Digene Corporation.

In the study, the authors note they recently examined the performance of The Digene HPV Test and found that the test demonstrated superior sensitivity and negative predictive value compared with a single Pap smear. The authors added that with separate, follow-up, typing of HPV 16 and HPV 18, "This new screening strategy could help to reduce the number of women who are referred to colposcopy for a positive HPV test." Although women who carry other types of high-risk HPV "will still need to be followed more carefully" than those without HPV, follow-up could be more conservative.

The JNCI study, authored by Khan, Castle, et. al., is titled "The elevated 10-year risk of cervical neoplasia in women with human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 or 18 may warrant type-specific HPV testing in clinical practice." It concludes that HPV screening that distinguishes specific HPV types from others -- specifically types 16 and 18 -- could "focus clinical attention on women at greatest risk [of cervical cancer] and permit less-aggressive management of other oncogenic infections." The findings are based on an evaluation of 20,810 women participating in the Kaiser Permanente health plan in Portland, OR, who were enrolled in a cohort study of HPV and cervical neoplasia.

"Primary screening with The Digene HPV Test together with the Pap is quickly emerging as the standard of care for cervical cancer screening, enabling greater screening sensitivity and enabling physicians to stratify and appropriately manage their patients at highest risk. To provide greater risk-stratification information to healthcare providers in the future, Digene is currently developing two products that can be used in the laboratory to provide HPV genotyping information following a positive high-risk HPV test," commented Attila T. Lorincz, PhD, Digene's Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President of Research and Development. "We are strongly committed to our role as the pioneer in HPV screening and cervical cancer prevention."

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