Intended for healthcare professionals

Clinical Review State of the Art Review

HPV testing as a screen for cervical cancer

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 30 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2372
  1. Annekathryn Goodman, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology, Harvard Medical School
  1. 1Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA
  1. Correspondence to: A Goodman agoodman{at}


Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been identified as a necessary factor in the development of pre-invasive and invasive cancers of the lower genital tract, of which cervical cancer is the most prevalent. A molecular understanding of malignant transformation and epidemiologic information has led to the development of many strategies for detection and early intervention. Newer tests for oncogenic subtypes of HPV have made it possible to predict the risk of future development of cervical cancer. This review summarizes the current understanding of HPV related disease and examines the role of HPV testing as a screening tool for cervical cancer. It summarizes the data from prospective and randomized controlled trials on HPV screening from Europe and North America and includes smaller studies from low and middle income countries where cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women.


  • Competing interests: I have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and declare the following interests: none.

  • Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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