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Obstetrics and Gynecology International
Volume 2013, Article ID 610373, 7 pages
Review Article

The Clinical Role of HPV Testing in Primary and Secondary Cervical Cancer Screening

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Hospitals Leuven (Campus Gasthuisberg), Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Received 2 April 2013; Accepted 14 May 2013

Academic Editor: Enrique Hernandez

Copyright © 2013 G. Hoste et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Traditional population-based cervical screening programs, based on cytology, have successfully reduced the burden of cervical cancer. Nevertheless limitations remain and new screening methods are emerging. Despite vaccination against the 2 most oncogenic types (HPV 16/18), cervical cancer screening will have to continue as an essential public health strategy. As the acquisition of an HR-HPV infection is critical in the progression to (pre-)cancerous cervical lesions, recent research has focused on HR-HPV detection. The sensitivity of HPV testing in primary and secondary prevention outweighs that of cytology, at the cost of slightly lower specificity. Although most of the HR-HPV infections are cleared after conization, new evidence from numerous studies encourages the implementation of HR-HPV testing and genotyping to improve posttreatment surveillance. An HR-HPV test 6 months after conization is a promising useful clinical marker to detect persistence and prevent progression. This review highlights the clinical role of HPV testing in primary and secondary cervical cancer screening.