Context: Persistent high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) infection is essential for the development of cervical cancer and its precursor lesions. High-risk HPV testing has a higher sensitivity than cytology does for detecting cervical epithelial lesions. However, a large study from a single institution showed 31% of patients with invasive cervical cancer had negative baseline hrHPV testing within 5 years preceding the diagnosis. Objective: To investigate the limitation of hrHPV testing in detecting invasive cervical cancer. Design: Cases from 2012 with a histologic diagnosis of invasive cervical carcinoma were retrieved from multiple institutions. From those records, prior hrHPV testing and Papanicolaou test results in the 5 years before the cancer diagnosis were recorded. Results: Seventy patients with cervical carcinoma were included in the study. Negative HPV test result rates were 9% (5 of 53), 23% (6 of 26), and 25% (2 of 8) during the periods of less than 1 year, 1 to 3 years, and 3 to 5 years before the histologic diagnoses, respectively. Negative Papanicolaou testing results in the same time intervals were 3.4% (2 of 59), 33% (10 of 30), and 40% (6 of 15). Although the HPV- rate seemed to be different among different HPV test methods, no statistical significance was detected because of small sample size. Negative hrHPV rates in patients with adenocarcinoma were similar to those in patients with squamous cell carcinoma. Conclusions: These data expose limitations for the potential use of primary HPV testing. In addition, current screening guidelines recommending cotesting at 5-year intervals should be evaluated further with additional historic data collection because there are women with negative results for both Papanicolaou tests and hrHPV testing within the period of 3 to 5 years before an invasive carcinoma diagnosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Medical Laboratory Technology