Adding more types of human papillomavirus to the current HPV DNA test would detect relatively few additional cases of cervical cancer but would result in thousands of additional women without cancer receiving unnecessary cervical exams, according to a new study.
The use of HPV testing in the detection and prevention of cervical cancer is increasing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an HPV DNA test that targets 13 HPV types as an adjunct to Pap screening in women age 30 and older. However, most HPV infections are benign. It has been suggested that the HPV DNA test could be improved with the addition of more HPV types, but it is not known what effect this would have on the test's accuracy.
To evaluate the impact of modifying the HPV DNA test, Mark Schiffman, M.D., M.P.H., of the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues analyzed data from two large NCI studies. They found that testing for more than 10 HPV types increased the proportion of false-positive results by far more than it increased the proportion of true-positive results. The authors conclude that the minimal increases in detection gained from adding HPV types to the existing DNA test must be weighed against the projected burden to thousands of women falsely labeled as being at high risk of cervical cancer.
Contact: National Cancer Institute Press Office, 301-496-6641, NCIPressOfficers@mail.nih.gov
Rise in Type of Esophageal Cancer Is Real, Study Concludes
The nearly sixfold increase in one of the two most common forms of esophageal cancer over the last 25 years is not the result of overdiagnosis or reclassification and represents a real rise, according to a new study.
About 14,250 people in the United States were diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2004, and half of those cases were adenocarcinoma. Alt
Contact: Sarah L. Zielinski
Journal of the National Cancer Institute