High-risk HPV testing vs liquid-based cytology for cervical cancer screening among 25- to 30-year-old women: A historical cohort study

Ohad Feldstein, Hadar Gali-Zamir, Eduardo Schejter, Tali Feinberg, Einav Yehuda-Shnaidman, Jacob Bornstein, Tally Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: High-risk human papilloma virus (hrHPV) DNA testing is more sensitive than cytology screening, achieving greater protection against cervical cancer. Controversy exists regarding the preferred screening method for women 25–30 years of age. At this age, infection with HPV is common and usually transient. Consequently, hrHPV screening in this age group is fraught with high false-positive screening results, leading to more colposcopies and unnecessary treatments with the potential for harm. In the present study, we aimed to compare the results of two screening methods in relation to high-grade cervical intraepithelial lesion detection rate in the young age group of 25–30 years. Material and methods: Retrospective information on cervical cytology, hrHPV testing, colposcopy referrals and histologic results, from one screening round, were retrieved from the Maccabi HealthCare Health Maintenance Organization centralized database during the study period from March 1, 2017 to April 1, 2019 for 25- to 30-year-old women. Screening with hrHPV testing for types 16, 18 and 12 other hrHPV types was compared with the conventional PAP liquid-based cytology (LBC) test. Odds ratio (OR) of detection with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade 3 or higher (CIN 3+). Results: During the study period, 42 244 women 25–30 years old underwent cervical cancer screening; of them, 20 997 were screened with LBC between March 1, 2017 and March 1, 2018 and compared with 21 247 who were screened with hrHPV between April 1, 2018 and April 1, 2019. Testing for hrHPV resulted in a higher colposcopy referral rate compared with primary LBC screening: 9.8% vs 7.8%, respectively; (OR 1.28; 95% CI 1.2–1.37; p < 0.001). Screening with hrHPV led to significantly higher detection of CIN 3+ lesions (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.2–1.6; p < 0.001) compared with LBC. HPV infections with non-16/18 hrHPV (other hrHPV) were the most prevalent (84.8%). Conclusions: In women 25–30 years old, primary hrHPV screening was associated with a higher detection rate of CIN 3+ compared with cytology screening and should be considered for primary screening in this age group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-233
Number of pages8
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • 25–30 age group
  • cervical cancer screening
  • cervical intraepithelial neoplasia
  • colposcopy
  • hrHPV
  • liquid-based cytology


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