Lancet Oncology has published results from a study of more than 90,000 Italian women which found that testing for high-risk types of the HPV DNA is effective in preventing invasive cervical cancer than cytology (Pap testing) alone. The trial used Qiagen's digene HPV test (digene HC2 HPV DNA Test), which detects the high-risk types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.

The study, ‘New Technologies for Cervical Cancer (NTCC)’ assessed the benefits and risks of shifting to HPV testing from standard cytology (Pap testing) in cervical cancer screening programs to increase effectiveness in preventing invasive cervical cancer.

The study authors, who attributed the higher efficacy of HPV DNA testing to its earlier detection of clinically relevant lesions, which allowed for earlier treatment of precancers and prevention of invasive cancer, said: “The two-phase, randomized trial showed a lower number of cases in the HPV group versus the cytology group over the two screening rounds, indicating that the HPV-based screening is more effective than cytology in preventing cervical cancer. For women aged 35 years or more, our results support the use of HPV DNA testing for primary screening at prolonged intervals, with cytology reserved for triage of HPV-positive women.”

Peer Schatz, CEO of QIAGEN, said: “This study clearly demonstrates that a decrease in advanced cervical cancer is achievable and hence lives saved when HPV screening using the digene HPV Test is implemented, regardless of the region and level of cervical cancer prevention program in place.

“With our digene HPV test approved in the US and Europe, and our careHPV test in development for use specifically in the developing world, we believe that regionally tailored cervical cancer prevention strategies that include HPV DNA testing can efficiently save millions of women’s lives.”