HPV DNA testing versus Cytology: A new era in cervical cancer screening

Antonis Sfakianakis, Kalliopi Pappa

1st Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Alexandra Hospital, Athens, Greece

Correspondence: Kalliopi Pappa, Alexandra Hospital, 80 Vassilisis Sofias Avenue 115 28, Athens, Greece, E – mail:


Cervical cancer screening tests are growing at a rapid pace, reflecting the importance of the HPV virus in the development of cancer. Four randomized studies in Europe and one perspective study in the USA have substantiated the application of HPV DNA screening (HPV testing), as a triage trial for cervical cancer. According to the results, HPV DNA testing displays higher sensitivity in comparison to the Pap-test, when it comes to early detection of precancerous lesions, a fact which promotes the maintenance of longer intervals of screening. On the other hand, HPV DNA testing exhibits a lower specificity and thus increases the number of unnecessary colposcopies. In order to counteract this shortcoming, new biomarkers could be used, while vaccination against the HPV virus will  undoubtedly promote the eradication of the disease.

KeyWords: HPV DNA testing, cytology, Pap smear, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, cervical cancer screening
p. 86-89