Context.—Although human papillomavirus (HPV) testing may aid in managing low-grade abnormality on screening cervical cytology, patient compliance with repeat testing programs requires consideration.
Objectives.—To determine effectiveness and costs of repeated Papanicolaou (Pap) test and oncogenic HPV testing for detecting cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 or 3.
Design.—We conducted a randomized controlled trial of combined Pap test and cervical HPV testing by Hybrid Capture 1 test compared with Pap test alone; tests were performed every 6 months for up to 2 years. The study end point was colposcopic examination performed on all women at 2 years, or earlier if an HPV test was positive or if a Pap test showed high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion.
Setting.—Sixty-six community family practices.
Participants.—Two hundred fifty-seven women with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance or low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion on screening cervical cytology.
Main Outcome Measures.—Detection of histologically confirmed cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 or 3, fully allocated costs, and loss to follow-up.
Results.—Combined Pap test and HPV testing detected 11 (100%) of 11 cases of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2/3, whereas Pap test alone detected 7 (63.6%) of these 11 cases (P = .14); corresponding specificities were 39 (46.4%) of 84 and 45 (71.4%) of 63 (P = .005). The cost-effectiveness ratio was Can $4456 per additional case of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Sixty-nine (26.8%) of the 257 women (24.6% combined group vs 29.1% Pap test only group, P = .41) defaulted from testing or from colposcopy when referred with an abnormal result.
Conclusions.—Combined testing was more costly but may detect more cases of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2/3 than Pap test alone. However, poor adherence limits usefulness of a management strategy that requires repeated follow-up.