The detection of HPV DNA improves the recognition of cervical intraepithelial lesions

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Reasons that influence the efficacy of cervical cancer screening are failure to screen all women at risk, as well as inherent technical limitations of the conventional cervical smear. HPV DNA testing is a supplementary, objective test less independent on sampling failure. The aim of this study was to compare results of HPV DNA screening to cytological smears (CS) and histological diagnosis. From January 1995 to January 1999, cytological smears, cells for HPV DNA analysis and cervical biopsies were obtained from 280 women included in this study.Statistical methods:Fisher's exact test (2×2 contingency tables, P<0.01), Pearson Chi-square, P< 0.05, Spearman's rank correlation R. Sixty patients (21.4%) tested positive for low-risk (LR-HPV), 227 (81.1%) positive for high-risk HPV (HR-HPV). The CS proved to be a strong predictor for the histological diagnosis, reaching a sensitivity of 93.4%, a specificity of 65.8% and a positive predictive value (PPV) of 77.4%. By combining cytology and HPV DNA testing, the sensitivity could be considerably enhanced (99.0%), though at a price of loss in specificity (30.1%). HPV DNA testing, available as a commercially standardized product, leads to a significant rise in sensitivity when used as an additional diagnostic tool to cytological screening methods and thus contributes to reduce the incidence of cervical carcinomas.

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