Positive Correlation Between Clearance of High-Risk Human Papillomavirus and Lack of Residual Disease After Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone in Early Stage Cervical Cancer

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In cervical cancer, a number of pathological parameters have been explored for their utility in tailoring a less aggressive approach for patients with low-risk early stage disease. We examined whether, in patients with cervical cancer stage IA1 to IB1, diagnosed by loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ), positive for high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV), clearance of hrHPV after LLETZ correlates with absence of residual disease at the final pathology after definitive or further surgery.

Materials and Methods

Data were collected from patients diagnosed with early stage invasive cervical cancer and positive hrHPV DNA, who had a repeat cervical HPV test 3 to 12 weeks after LLETZ and before final surgical treatment. We compared characteristics of patients with post-LLETZ negative and positive hrHPV.


Of 28 patients, 13 were post-LLETZ negative hrHPV; of these, 11 did not have residual cancer in the final pathological specimen; two patients had cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 3. Of the 15 women who had post-LLETZ positive hrHPV, 10 had residual cancer in the final pathological specimen and 3 had cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or adenocarcinoma in situ; only 2 were negative for cancer. The post-LLETZ hrHPV test shows a sensitivity of 86.7% and specificity of 84.6%.


Clearance of hrHPV from the cervix after LLETZ was found to correlate with the absence of residual cancer in the final surgical specimen. Testing for hrHPV post-LLETZ might serve as a new parameter for risk assessment and tailoring of a less radical operation in women with early stage cervical cancer.

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