June 9, 2004
"The concept that HPV is a obligatory cause in cervical cancer development has led to extensive research regarding the incorporation of HPV detection in (1) cervical cancer prevention programs, (2) triage of women with abnormal cervical scrapes in the screening program, and (3) follow-up of patients treated for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)," said the authors.
According to epidemiological studies, 50 percent of women becoming sexually active will contract a genital HPV infection within 2 years. Though the lifetime risk of a genital HPV infection is estimated to be 80 percent, very few of these women will develop cervical cancer, the researchers pointed out.
"Several studies have shown that the persistence of genital HPV infections is especially related to the development of cervical cancer. As a result, HPV detection at a single moment was shown to be of limited clinical value in the triage of patients with abnormal cervical scrapes, or during follow-up after treatment for CIN," added the researchers. "Furthermore, major variations in the sensitivity of different HPV detection methods, as well as differences in HPV detection related to the menstrual cycle, have shown that many facts regarding HPV transmission, replication and detection need to be clarified, before HPV detection can be of clinical value," the researchers concluded.
Women's Health Weekly