White Paper Addresses Pros and Cons of HPV Typing

Appropriate use of typing may depend on creating integrated approach to cervical cancer prevention
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- A new white paper -- "What is the Role of HPV Typing in the United States Now and in the Next Five Years in a Vaccinated Population?" -- provides guidance to clinicians about the administration of advanced screening technologies for cervical cancer prevention. The paper was published online April 24 in Gynecologic Oncology.

The lead author of the paper, Warner Huh, M.D., of the University of Alabama in Birmingham, participated in a forum titled "Future Strategies for Cervical Cancer Prevention: What Do We Need to Do Now to Prepare?" and conducted Sept. 12 to 13, 2008, by the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists. Huh and colleagues reviewed the current status, benefits and deficiencies of human papillomavirus (HPV) typing, and discussed additional research required to make HPV typing a practical screening tool.

In principle, the researchers agreed that screening with HPV DNA testing for oncogenic genotypes followed by cytologic triage has "attractive" features that may meet the screening needs of a post-vaccination era. They also focused on how a new HPV genotyping test recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could be used to assist clinical decisions, and whether its implementation would be cost-effective. However, they write that HPV typing alone should not be used to determine who should be vaccinated against HPV, partly because of concerns about the potential misuse and overuse of HPV typing in low-risk women among health care providers.

"As HPV typing technologies gain traction in the United States, its appropriate use will depend on the evolving natural history of the vaccinated cohort, continued educational efforts of healthcare providers, and most importantly, creating an integrated approach to cervical cancer prevention that will lead to a greater decrease in the incidence of cervical disease in the United States while allowing for cost equipoise," the authors conclude.

The forum was supported by grants from Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Hologic, Roche, and Qiagen directly to the Society for Gynecologic Oncologists. Several authors disclosed financial relationships with these companies.

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