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Cervical Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information About Cervical Cancer


HPV DNA tests are unlikely to separate patients with low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions into those who do and those who do not need further evaluation. A study of 642 women found that 83% had one or more tumorigenic HPV types when cervical cytologic specimens were assayed by a sensitive (hybrid capture) technique.[20] The authors of the study and of an accompanying editorial concluded that using HPV DNA testing in this setting does not add sufficient information to justify its cost.[20] HPV DNA testing has proven useful in triaging patients with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance to colposcopy and has been integrated into current screening guidelines.[20,21,22] Patients with an abnormal cytology of a high-risk type (Bethesda classification) should be thoroughly evaluated with colposcopy and biopsy.

Other studies show patients with low-risk cytology and high-risk HPV infection with types 16, 18, and 31 are more likely to have cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) or microinvasive histopathology on biopsy.[19,23,24,25] One method has also shown that integration of HPV types 16 and 18 into the genome, leading to transcription of viral and cellular messages, may predict patients who are at greater risk for high-grade dysplasia and invasive cancer.[26] Studies suggest that acute infection with HPV types 16 and 18 conferred an 11- to 16.9-fold risk of rapid development of high-grade CIN,[19,27] but there are conflicting data requiring further evaluation before any recommendations may be made. Patients with low-risk cytology and low-risk HPV types have not been followed long enough to ascertain their risk. At present, studies are ongoing to determine how HPV typing can be used to help stratify women into follow-up and treatment groups. HPV typing may prove useful, particularly in patients with low-grade cytology or cytology of unclear abnormality. At present, how therapy and follow-up should be altered with low- versus high-risk HPV type has not been established.

Related Summaries

Other PDQ summaries containing information related to cervical cancer include the following:

  • Cervical Cancer Prevention
  • Cervical Cancer Screening
  • Unusual Cancers of Childhood (childhood cancer of the cervix)


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  17. Lai CH, Chang CJ, Huang HJ, et al.: Role of human papillomavirus genotype in prognosis of early-stage cervical cancer undergoing primary surgery. J Clin Oncol 25 (24): 3628-34, 2007.
  18. Schiffman MH, Bauer HM, Hoover RN, et al.: Epidemiologic evidence showing that human papillomavirus infection causes most cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. J Natl Cancer Inst 85 (12): 958-64, 1993.
  19. Brisson J, Morin C, Fortier M, et al.: Risk factors for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: differences between low- and high-grade lesions. Am J Epidemiol 140 (8): 700-10, 1994.
  20. Human papillomavirus testing for triage of women with cytologic evidence of low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions: baseline data from a randomized trial. The Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance/Low-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions Triage Study (ALTS) Group. J Natl Cancer Inst 92 (5): 397-402, 2000.
  21. Wright TC Jr, Massad LS, Dunton CJ, et al.: 2006 consensus guidelines for the management of women with abnormal cervical cancer screening tests. Am J Obstet Gynecol 197 (4): 346-55, 2007.
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  27. Koutsky LA, Holmes KK, Critchlow CW, et al.: A cohort study of the risk of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or 3 in relation to papillomavirus infection. N Engl J Med 327 (18): 1272-8, 1992.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: September 04, 2014
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