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Study: HPV test beats Pap in detecting cervical cancer
Date:10/18/2007

This release is available in French.

A new study led by McGill University researchers shows that the human papillomavirus (HPV) screening test is far more accurate than the traditional Pap test in detecting cervical cancer. The first round of the Canadian Cervical Cancer Screening Trial (CCCaST), led by Dr. Eduardo Franco, Director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology at McGill's Faculty of Medicine, concluded that the HPV test's ability to accurately detect pre-cancerous lesions without generating false negatives was 94.6%, as opposed to 55.4% for the Pap test.

The results of the study, first-authored by Dr. Francos former McGill PhD student Dr. Marie-Hlne Mayrand of the Centre hospitalier de l'Universit de Montral (CHUM), with colleagues from McGill, Universit de Montral, the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Health Laboratory and McMaster University, are published in the October 18 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

CCCaST is the first randomized controlled trial in North America of HPV testing as a stand-alone screening test for cervical cancer. The first round followed 10,154 women aged 30 to 69 in Montreal, Quebec and St. John's, Newfoundland who were enrolled in the study from 2002 to 2005. The study was funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

The study concluded that while the HPV test's sensitivity was nearly 40% greater than the Pap tests, the Pap did, however, slightly edge out HPV for accuracy on the specificity scale -- its ability to accurately detect pre-cancerous lesions without generating false positives -- at 96.8% versus 94.1%.

"We already knew before conducting this study that the sensitivity of Pap left a lot to be desired," said Dr. Franco, James McGill Professor in the Departments of Oncology and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Director of the Division of Canc
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Contact: Mark Shainblum
mark.shainblum@mcgill.ca
514-398-2189
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

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