High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV)-Papanicolaou (Pap) cotesting is recommended for cervical cancer screening in women aged ≥30 years. The current study analyzed the effectiveness of cotesting on risk management in different age groups.
A retrospective review of a 5-year cytology database identified 9434 women with HPV-Pap cotesting and follow-up cervical biopsy. The 3-year cumulative risk of developing high-grade cervical lesions (≥high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion [HSIL]) was analyzed using age stratification.
The 3-year cumulative risk of developing ≥HSIL was found to be significantly different in women with baseline cotesting HPV-positive and Pap-positive results (HPV+/Pap+; defined as ≥atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance), HPV+ and Pap-negative results, and HPV-negative and Pap+ results at 19.2%, 7.9%, and 3.1%, respectively (P < .001). The risk of ≥HSIL peaked at ages 30 to 39 years and significantly decreased at ages 50 to 59 years (16.6% vs 6.7%; P < .001). Women aged <30 years shared a high risk similar to that of women aged 30 to 39 years (17.3% vs 16.6%; P = .52), and risk stratification by cotesting was found to be equally effective in the younger age group (HPV+ and Pap+: 19.6%; HPV+ and Pap-negative: 7.2%; and HPV-negative and Pap+: 4.4% [P < .001]).
High-risk HPV-Pap cotesting appears to be extremely sensitive for the prediction of the risk of developing ≥HSIL and is an effective tool for risk stratification. In the current study, the 3-year cumulative risk of developing ≥HSIL varied significantly with age, with the highest risk noted among women aged <40 years and the lowest risk observed in women aged 50 to 59 years. Pap testing significantly impacted risk stratification in the HPV+ positive group, especially in women aged <60 years. Women aged <30 years were found to have a risk profile and cotesting efficacy similar to those of women aged 30 to 39 years. Modification of the current recommendation to offer cotesting to women aged ≥30 years might be considered to include those patients aged <30 years.