Primary screening for HPV provides 60-70% greater protection against invasive cervical cancer than the cytology-based screening, according to a pooled analysis already published in The Lancet.

The study was carried out in the framework of the European Project PREHDICT and was led by CPO. Data from follow up of four major European trials in England, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden which compared HPV-based screening with cytology-based screening were analysed. ICC detection was significantly lower in the HPV arm, and this effect was similar with the different screening protocols applied.

The study also identified the best methods for HPV-based screening (intervals, age, assessment of positive tests) to be implemented in order to minimize overtreatment without reducing protection. The study was carried out in organized screening programmes, among which, in Piedmont, the Turin programme.

The Piedmont Region recently approved the start of HPV-based screening for the Regional programme “Prevenzione Serena”, as well as other four Italian regions. Also the Dutch Government established the transition to HPV-based screening at national level.