April 29, 2011

Prevent Cervical Cancer: A Working Strategy?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) --A long-term surveillance strategy for women treated for precancerous cervical lesions may be helping to prevent cervical cancer.

A new study confirmed that the currently used post-treatment approach (three cytological smears) is effective for identifying women at long-term risk of cervical cancer. Researchers say this is important because about 15 percent of women diagnosed with high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) will develop recurrent disease, even if they undergo treatment.

For the study, Chris Meijer from VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam and Theo Helmerhorst from the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and their colleagues examined the effectiveness of different follow-up screening strategies and whether the different strategies could reduce the number of screens needed after treatment. The researchers collected data from 435 women who were treated for CIN grade 2 and were monitored using other strategies like cytology and hrHPV co-testing at six, 12, and 24 months after treatment and then by population-based screening every five years.

Researchers found that the five-year risk of developing post-treatment CIN 2 or higher was 16.5 percent. However, that risk was reduced to less than 3 percent in women who had three consecutive cytological normal smears.

Findings also showed that by adding hrHPV testing to post-treatment surveillance, testing
at 12 months could be omitted in women who are negative by co-testing at six months.

"The five-year risks of post-treatment disease in these women are such that they do not need to be followed up more closely than women in population-based screening (every five years)"¦and could therefore return to [regular screening]," the authors were quoted as saying.

The authors concluded by saying that more intensive surveillance is critical for women at a higher risk of recurrence.

Source: Lancet Oncology, April 27, 2011