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HPV RNA test equally sensitive but more specific than DNA testing

A study published in the International Journal of Cancer, an HPV RNA assay provided a better combination of sensitivity and specificity than HPV DNA- or cytology-based tests for cervical cancer screening.

The French APTIMA Screening Evaluation (FASE) study is the first screening study to compare liquid-based cytology, a Pap test widely used in cervical cancer screening, with the new RNA-based APTIMA HPV test and the DNA-based Hybrid Capture 2 test (HC2). 

Commenting on the implications of the trial, Eric Lai, PhD, Gen-Probe’s senior vice president of Research and Development, said: “DNA tests detect the presence of the HPV virus, whereas APTIMA HPV targets biologically relevant markers active in transforming cervical cells. DNA tests are therefore more likely to pick up transient infections and lead to false positive results with respect to disease. This study showed that in a routine screening population, APTIMA HPV had the same sensitivity as a HPV DNA test, with the low false positive rate of cytology. This means women at risk of cervical cancer could be more accurately identified. At the same time, unnecessary colposcopies, office visits, over-treatment and the associated costs could be reduced. In addition, APTIMA HPV could decrease the patient anxiety caused by inappropriate diagnostic procedures.”