The two screen-and-treat methods, human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing and visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), followed by treatment using cryotherapy for all eligible women with positive test results, were found to perform as well or better than traditional cytology-based screening (Pap smear) for identifying high-grade cervical cancer precursor lesions. Cryotherapy freezing the cervix is a relatively low-technology treatment method that has been shown to be highly efficacious with minimal morbidity. This study was the first time these methods were tested for efficacy in reducing the prevalence of cervical cancer precursor lesions.
"These are highly effective, low cost methods to reduce the unnecessary mortality from cervical cancer around the world especially in the world's poorest countries," said Thomas C. Wright Jr., M.D., principal investigator of the study and professor of pathology, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. "We found that conducting HPV DNA or VIA protocols in South Africa were not only much more cost-effective than traditional cytology-based approaches, but were similar in overall cost to other well-accepted health interventions, such as childhood vaccines."
Published in the Nov. 2, 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the randomized clinical trial included 6,555 nonpregnant women, aged 35 to 65 years, between June 2000 and December 2002 at three ambulatory wo
Contact: Elizabeth Streich
Columbia University Medical Center